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No Decision on Homeowners' Request to Acquire Pool Property as City, Developer Lawsuit Continues

A legal dispute between the City of Bellevue and the developer of a residential project on the riverfront prevented a decision from the planning & zoning commission being made on Monday night.

The Harbor Greene homeowners association announced through its president and attorney that it had reached an agreement with the Ackermann group to acquire a parcel of land from the developer that includes the condo tower's swimming pool.

However, because the Ackermann Group is currently suing the City of Bellevue, members of the planning & zoning commission and zoning administrator Scott Enns said that a decision could not be made because of the legal issues. 

The property's ownership change requires approval from the city, and first, the planning & zoning commission.

Background

In July, 2014, condo owners spoke out against the Ackermann Group's plans to construct apartment buildings where condos were originally planned. Homeowners decried what they called "transient" renters and expressed worry over property values.

A month later, the Bellevue City Council rejected the developer's proposal.

In January, the Ackermann Group sued the City of Bellevue.

One legal issue resolved, another pending

At Monday's meeting of the planning & zoning commission, attorney Mark Guilfoyle and homeowners association president Jim Davis said that a Campbell Co. judge had approved a settlement of a legal dispute with the developer.

"The homeowners are very happy with this settlement and part of it is a confidential settlement and part of it is conveying property right next to the building that exists, the pool area and some green space," Guilfoyle told the commission. "It's really not a significant thing, quite frankly."

Guilfoyle said that the homeowners wanted "to put the issue to bed" but recognized the sensitivity of the city's own legal issues with Ackermann.

Dobbs Ackermann, the developer, was also at Monday's meeting. The issue was not on the agenda for a vote, but simply for discussion, something that Ackermann expressed dismay over. 

"We submitted this application on October 9 this year with the expectation that it would be processed under your due course of business and in submitting the application believed we submitted all the documents necessary for it to be reviewed and be able to be brought forth," Ackermann told the commission. "We received no notice of any materials lacking. We would like to know this evening if we are lacking any materials. Or, we would like to know if our expectations are inaccurate."

Enns explained that this is a special case because of the ongoing litigation that involves the entire Harbor Greene development.

"The (city) administration is reviewing the impact of any actions upon the property," Enns said. 

Planning & zoning chairman Jim Dady suggested that legal council representing the city in the Ackermann suit should be present at a forthcoming commission meeting in order to answer pending questions.

The next meeting is scheduled for January.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher