City staff debrief Comp Plan, tree code, Wilburton & BelRed at Chamber PLUSH meeting

Advocacy, PLUSH, In the News,

At the Bellevue Chamber PLUSH Committee’s most recent meeting, the City of Bellevue’s Planning Director, Emil King, and other staff provided an update on the Comprehensive Plan, the tree code, and the Wilburton and BelRed subarea plans. 

City staff indicated that certain portions of the Comp Plan will be addressed with future code amendments following the completion of the Periodic Update process, and a public hearing regarding BelRed is scheduled for the June 20 Planning Commission meeting, with an option to continue discussions on June 26 followed by Commission deliberations. The Planning Commission will tentatively provide recommendations on July 10. 

The draft Wilburton Land Use Code Amendment was also released earlier this week, and the Planning Commission will review it towards the end of the summer/early fall. To see the Draft Wilburton LUCA, click here for Option A and click here for Option B. 

Following this update, Jun Suk, the City’s Grand Connection Project Manager, and Lorelei Williams from WSP updated PLUSH members on the Grand Connection, Bellevue’s proposed pedestrian and bicycle corridor connecting the downtown area with Wilburton. They shared feedback from the open house that closed in late March, where constituents shared their preferred modes of travel, intended uses for the corridor, and desired key features. 

PLUSH members raised concerns about the I-405 crossing costs and its coexistence with the I-405 expansion, but staff assured that they are in close communication with WSDOT regarding the I-405 expansion plans. As of now, the estimated cost for the bridge crossing is between $150-200 million, with a more accurate estimate expected by the end of the year. 

Amazon’s Pearl Leung then gave a brief overview of the “Friends of the Grand Connection,” which was founded back in 2023. This group comprises community leaders and stakeholders committed to ensuring the Grand Connection is completed on schedule, providing a valuable asset that connects downtown to Eastrail and the future of Wilburton.
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) then joined the meeting to discuss their ongoing efforts regarding the City’s tree code. MBAKS submitted a letter to City Council on May 10 expressing their concerns about the code changes, in addition to proposing recommendations such as reducing the minimum tree density requirements and allowing significant trees to be counted towards meeting the minimum tree density. This letter aligns with the points raised by PLUSH in their communication with the City, demonstrating a unified approach in policy advocacy. 

MBAKS members participated in the May 21 study session to discuss these issues with city staff, and they are also scheduled to attend the June 18 study session, which will cover city code and enforcement provisions. These matters are expected to be up for adoption sometime in July, marking a critical time for engagement. 

Learn more about the PLUSH Committee here!