Helipad proposed for downtown Bellevue

By Joshua Adam Hicks


Helicopters could become a regular sight in downtown Bellevue if the city grants permission for Kemper Development to install a chopper landing station atop the 19-story Bank of America building.

The company has applied to operate a helipad on the roof, where a suitable landing platform already exists.

The city will hold a public meeting to discuss the matter at Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Avenue Northeast) on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. Around 25 people have already submitted comments.

“It's mainly been concern about how much activity there would be,” said Bellevue planning manager Liz Stead.

Residents who talked to The Reporter about the proposed landing operations had mixed reactions.

“I don't think common people can afford to fly in helicopters,” said Catherine Ang of Medina. “It only serves the rich and privileged, and it might be noisy.”

Velma Patzold, who lives on Bellevue's Main Street, claims she would have no objection as long as the landings are safe.

“It's another innovation for Bellevue,” she said. “The city is always growing and expanding, so it's fine with me.”

Noise measurements taken during a trial landing and takeoff at the Bank of America building showed that the noise level increased by up to 63 percent, although experts have noted that the decibel levels would not be high enough to interfere with speech.

The maximum number of landings at the heliport would be 40 per month, and the hours of operation would be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily, according to the permit application.

Travel routes for the helicopters would have to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, but the expected flight pattern is over I-405, I-90, and highway 520.

The landing station would be used for non-public purposes

Installation of the heliport would include additional lighting, a 5-foot-wide net surrounding the roof, and a ladder, according to Stead.

Joshua Adam Hicks can be reached at 425-453-4290.