On Monday night, Bellevue hosted a hearing on its process for adopting a rail overlay district, a package of land use code amendments that would effectively streamline permitting and design standards for East Link. Timely adoption of the amendments is important, as it would provide certainty for Sound Transit to baseline the project at 60% design. If Bellevue were to gridlock the process now, the delay could be significant, in terms of both cost and the city’s political capital.
Unfortunately, East Link opponents haven’t let up. They turned out in droves on Monday night to bash the code amendments, some throwing in jabs at ST and councilmember Claudia Balducci, an East Link supporter. Ron Lewis, Deputy Executive Director of Link, braved the trip to Bellevue City Hall to speak in favor of the amendments, which helped add to what seemed at times like a tenuous chorus of support in the sea of negativity. You can watch a video of the hearing here.
Although relations between ST and Bellevue have improved since the East Link MOU was adopted in 2011, newly recharged opposition could easily distort public opinion to the detriment of the process. If you’re interested in adding support for the code amendments, the public hearing’s virtual comment period will end today at 10 AM. Comments can be emailed to the City’s legal planner, Catherine Drews or the Council itself.