The Bellevue City Council made a big leap in progress on the proposed Strahorn subdivision Monday night, nearly completing assessment of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations and findings of fact on an application for a planned-unit development.
The council is expected to reassess a few tabled standards and decide whether to approve the application, which was submitted to the council in January, at its next meeting on Oct. 14. If it’s approved, the city will then move on to a preliminary plat application, which was submitted simultaneously with the PUD application.
The applications were filed by developer Jeff Pfaeffle, who is proposing 47 residential lots on 18.5 acres at the mouth of Slaughterhouse Canyon. They cover phase one of a larger development that would consist of 205 lots to be developed in five phases.
A planned-unit development allows a subdivision to incorporate a variety of land uses beyond what is normally allowed in a zone. In this case, Pfaeffle’s proposed Strahorn development in the General Residential zone would incorporate open space and sports fields alongside single-family homes.
The preliminary plat application is the nitty gritty of the subdivision that dictates lot sizes, direction of drainage flow, boundaries of floodplain and much more, according to city code.
Each application comes with its own set of standards of evaluation. Each standard can have additional conditions put on it that the developer must adhere to.
Five evaluation standards out of 42 on the PUD application remain under review after City Council members agreed to table four to possibly add additional conditions on the developer, and a fifth standard that was approved with an additional condition that needs clarified language added.
During Monday’s specially scheduled meeting, Councilman Greg Cappel voiced a concern about a portion of the development that borders BLM land and could potentially be a fire hazard were a wildfire to begin in Slaughterhouse Canyon. The concern was in relation to a particular standard of evaluation that addresses the lots near public land. Bellevue Fire Chief Greg Beaver said it would be unlikely for a fire to occur and make its way down the canyon rather than up. Beaver said that depending on wind conditions, it would be possible for the proposed subdivision to be impacted, but the chance is slim.
In an interview Tuesday, Beaver again clarified that the area that Cappel was concerned about had a low fuel load, mostly sagebrush, something that Beaver considered more than a decade ago when the land was being annexed under residential zoning. Beaver suggested that the area, east of Sunrise Ranch Road, already has a walking trail, and that widening that trail could be sufficient to create a bigger firebreak and create access for emergency vehicles in the event of a fire.