Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. City Council Members Doreen Marchione and Bob Sternoff were in attendance. We had a full house of about 70 due in part to the continued controversy over the proposed Potala Village project.
Our first guest was Eric Shields, Kirkland Planning Director. Eric described the process by which the Potala Village project is seeking approval. The project is a mixed use building with office space and 143 apartment units, located on the Southeast corner of Lake St. and 10th Ave. S. Eric explained how the parcel is zoned Neighborhood Business (BN) which allows business uses plus residential. There is no density limit on the residential. A shoreline permit is required. Due to a SEPA decision appeal, an environmental impact statement is now required for this project. The project passed its road concurrency test, but this also has been appealed. On November 15, 2011, the City Council adopted a 60-day emergency moratorium to consider Comprehensive Plan and/or Zoning Code amendments relating to the Neighborhood Business (BN) zone. The Kirkland Planning Commission will discuss the BN zoning of this parcel at its Dec 8 meeting. In short, it's looking like a rocky road for the project due to considerable opposition. Eric answered many questions, mostly from neighbors who oppose the project. The City has a Potala Village Page, and you can sign up for a listserv where you will receive email updates. An interesting memo created by Eric and Teresa Swan details the zoning history of the parcel.
Aaron Hollingbery of CamWest Development told us about their new project, to be named "Kirkland Commons", at State St. and 2nd Ave. S. It will be 15 condominium units consisting of two triplexes and 9 single family houses. One unit will be "affordable". Site work is expected to start in Jan or Feb and construction in early spring 2012. The houses will average 2000-2500 sq ft in size. Aaron forwarded a site plan pdf. It was reported that CamWest has been purchased by Toll Brothers, a large home builder from Pennsylvania. Aaron told us that this will not effect this project, as CamWest will operate as a separate division for at least 3 years.
Heidi Sowell and Sibel Yildiz of King County Wastewater Treatment Division told us about the 3rd St. sewer pump station and "forcemain" replacement project which is underway. Kirkland Ave. is in the process of being torn up from 3rd St. to the RR tracks. The pump station will be replaced and the street and sidewalks in the area upgraded. The portion of the project under the Transit Center was completed along with the center. The entire project will take 3 years with a summer 2014 completion. For more info check the County project web site.
Toby Nixon was our next guest. Toby is leading in his race against Jessica Greenway for Position 4 on the City Council, though the lead is only 182 votes. Toby explained that many votes were not valid because of signature issues and those might be corrected in the next few days. So stay tuned! If Toby does win, he is committed to serving the entire city, even though he lives in the annexation area. He is already familiar with Kirkland and the issues we face, partly because he was a State Rep from a district which included half of the city.
Our next meeting will be Jan 16, 2012 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.