Bellevue hosting four-day charrette on form-based code

Following two initial public meetings that focused on introducing the concept of form-based codes and developing a Visual Preference Survey, the City of Bellevue will host a four-day charrette featuring public presentations and an opportunity for members of the public to interact with the consulting team - PlaceMakers LLC - on the Coding Bellevue initiative.

The Coding Bellevue Charrette is the capstone of the form-based code development effort and will set the stage for the implementation of the region's first form-based code.

"When we meet on March 25 for the concluding presentation on Thursday night we'll be well on our way towards a code that helps us do exactly what our motto says," said Bellevue Mayor Jack Meyer referring to the city's 'Preserving the past, preparing for the future' motto.

At the two previous community meetings, Jeff Raser from Cincinnati-based Glaserworks helped lead the discussions that will shape the discussion of the upcoming four-day charrette.

Form-based codes are a relatively new alternative to the more commonly utilized Euclidean Zoning Codes - named after the Village of Euclid vs. Ambler Realty court case that in created the precedent for modern zoning codes.

"Current zoning codes don't allow us to create for a great place," said Jody Robinson, Assistant City Administrator.  "Things do change over time, and form-based codes ensure you get better results.  They eliminate a lot of bureaucracy and allow a property or business owner to do what they want as long as their plans meet the form standards established by the community."

At the charrette, PlaceMakers LLC and Glaserworks representatives will facilitate discussions and respond to participants' ideas with drawings and plans.

"Instead of the adversarial zoning process we have now on the back end, we're bringing everyone to the table upfront to make these community decisions," said Robinson.  "We have a historic community that people love, and as we're preparing for the future we're giving the opportunity to our citizens to plan it."

The public presentation will take place Thursday from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Callahan Community Center (located behind City Building at 616 Poplar Street).  Visit the project's website for details on specific open studio times when the public is encouraged to drop by and provide input.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Randy Simes
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