Also, Councilmember Ernie Simas sworn into office
In front of a packed audience on Monday night, staff briefed councilmembers on a set of due diligence reports examining the proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing project. The city is currently in the process of studying whether the facility should be located on a property owned by King County, adjacent to the Eastgate Park and Ride. The council could make a decision on whether to proceed with the site, already home to a public health clinic, as soon as April 17.
Monday's study session was the third council meeting regarding the shelter. The briefing provided councilmembers with an opportunity to discuss the process, analyze the requested due diligence reports and ask questions. Throughout the discussion, the council was unanimous in recognizing the need for the project to help address homelessness on the Eastside. However, several councilmembers voiced concerns over costs, programming controls and the Eastgate location.
On Aug. 1, 2016, the city council directed the city manager to enter into a non-binding Joint Letter of Agreement with King County to further evaluate the Eastgate site. Establishing a permanent Eastside shelter is a 2016-17 City Council Vision Priority. The project would also be in partnership with Congregations for the Homeless, who would operate the shelter and day center, and Imagine Housing, who would be responsible for running the supportive housing component.
The due diligence reports, posted last week, were formally requested by the council during the Nov. 28 study session on the shelter. The reports detail project programming and design, community feedback, best practices, and surrounding area impacts and preliminary mitigation options.
The topic is expected to be discussed again during the April 17 council meeting. For this meeting, the council has already agreed to amend the rules so that up to five individuals on each side of the shelter topic will have the opportunity to speak. Communications will still be limited to three minutes per speaker.
Video of the full briefing can be found on Bellevue Television. Additional background on the proposed shelter and supportive housing project can also be found online.
New councilmember takes oath of office
As the first order of business, the council paused to swear in Councilmember Ernie Simas. Simas was selected last month to fill the Position 5 seat from a pool of 43 residents who applied. His term will extend until the certification of the November 2017 election.
Prior to his appointment by the council, Simas worked on a number of Bellevue boards and commissions including the Civil Service Commission, Transportation Commission, Bellevue Downtown Livability Committee and the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. In his professional life, he serves as the chief operating officer for GIA Enterprises.
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