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The potential annexation of Eccles Flying Hat Ranch adds urgency to Bellevue’s push to update its procedures and regulations.

The Bellevue Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday gave its approval to a city code chapter governing the annexation process.

Director of Community Development Diane Shay told the P&Z that the intention is to create a road map for future developers and make the process of annexation easier.

Bellevue resident and former City Administrator Tom Blanchard made several suggestions to improve the language and reach of the proposed chapter, such as including the cost of additional staff, assuming that as the city grows, city staff will have to grow to keep up with additional workloads.

As previously reported by the Mountain Express, the eight-section chapter includes a section on submittal requirements, and a section requiring information from developers under annexation review to consider wildlife impacts, avalanches and floodplain dangers.

Developer Jeff Pfaeffle was the only other member of the public to comment.

Pfaeffle, who in 2009 succeeded in annexing 110 acres in Slaughterhouse Canyon for his Strayhorn subdivision, reiterated his prior offer to participate in a workshop-style meeting to discuss annexations from a developer’s perspective. His goal, he said, would be to help the city gain perspective and create a document that will withstand the test of time, noting that some developments can span decades—Strahorn included. What was approved at the beginning stage of a development may not be what’s best for the city in the future, he said.

In 2007, when Pfaeffle began the annexation of a property north of Bellevue, the town was a different place and subdivisions with single-family homes made sense, he told the commissioners. Today, Pfaeffle said, he is conscious of the current housing crisis, and told the commissioners that he will approach the P&Z at some point to ask for higher density in his Strahorn subdivision to possibly create apartment complexes.

Following P&Z approval, the draft will now be taken up by the City Council.

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