Bellevue neighbors fight to keep massive green space

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

Loading

BELLEVUE, Wash. - People in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood of Bellevue are upset over a new push to develop a neighborhood green space.

A company called KBS owns the Bellevue Technology Center on 156th Avenue Northeast, which consists of 46 acres with nine office buildings and parking, as well as acres of trees and a large meadow open to the public. Now the company is asking the city to allow more commercial development at the site.

Neighbors call the land a unique oasis from the development spreading across Bellevue.

  “You don’t see too many neighborhoods that have a place like that that you can go to and really get away from all this noise and stuff,” Gail Widell said.

“It's nice to have this place,” husband Bob Widell said. “We can take the dogs."

On Wednesday, the city is holding a public hearing, where citizens can weigh in on whether Bellevue’s city council members should allow more development on the site.

For businesses nearby, the idea of more customers is tempting.

April Wantanaphan just opened her family's Thai restaurant, Wanta Thai Cuisine, a little over a year ago.

“I love it,” she said. “It could bring a lot more people into the area and then definitely for me, it's good for my business.”

 But the Widells said it would be the equivalent of taking away a neighborhood park and that it would clog up the busy roads even more.

“156th is already bad down near Microsoft. On a busy afternoon it might take you a half hour to get a mile,” Gail Widell said. “The amount of traffic that's going to go in there is going to be absolutely ridiculous.”