Glenn Peterson called the meeting to order. Larry Martin of Milliken-Martin gave a presentation on the "Lake and Central" project, a 40,000 square foot site which is located at a 100% corner of Downtown Kirkland. The project will consist of three levels of housing over neighborhood-oriented street level retail uses, including a new U.S. Bank branch. The residential portion of the project will consist of 85 condominiums. The plan has generated much debate, and many downtown merchants have voiced their concerns to the city. Larry addressed several of these concerns, including the possibility of a business other than a supermarket for the main tenant. Delivery and garbage would be in an alley behind the building and would not be intrusive, Larry said. The cost and parking issues also were addressed. An interesting article recently appeared in the Seattle PI with more information on the debate http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/197910_ncenter03.html
City Manager Dave Ramsay and planner Jeremy McMahon were on hand to answer questions. Dave mentioned that the city has gone through an extensive process to get to this point with the project. (first presented to Moss Bay Neighborhood in Sept. '03 -- http://mossbay.org/MeetingMinutes/9-03.htm) A second public hearing on this project will be held before the KIRKLAND CITY COUNCIL on December 14, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as possible) in the Council Chamber at 123 5th Avenue.
Glenn Peterson spoke about the parking situation in downtown Kirkland. Glenn is vice chairman of the new city Parking Advisory Board and a resident of the Moss Bay neighborhood. He told us the following:
An extensive parking study by community stakeholders and consultants produced some revelations, led to some significant changes by City Council, and recommended the formation of the Parking Advisory Board. We have a parking shortage in downtown Kirkland which is getting worse every year. In June of this year, before the PAB was appointed, the city extended the enforcement of the 2-hour parking time limit that covers most of downtown from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This change has been poorly received by the downtown business community, despite the benefit of making parking available to more people. In December, the PAB will recommend to the City Council that the limit be rolled back to 7:30 p.m. The conversion of parts of the two downtown parking lots to pay parking with 4-hour limits will remain.
The future remains challenging with several new construction projects approved or under discussion which would significantly affect parking. The development of the Lake and Central lot would add parking but also add demand; it is unclear if the net result would be better or worse. The Central Way Improvement project will eventually add parking along that street. However, both of these undertakings would disrupt the parking supply while underway. Lake and Central may not be developed, but Central Way will break ground in the near future.
Don Winters updated our group on several issues. Don mentioned that there was no new information on the rumored sale of Green Funeral Home, but that the home was planned to shut down by year's end, adding credence to the rumor. (Since the meeting, several newspaper articles appeared about Green's closing:
Don mentioned the Pace Chemical site on 7th Ave. S. CamWest development has plans to build 60 units on the 12 acre property, and apparently the project is still on track, pending resolution of environmental issues that are said to be "resolvable".
Lakeshore Clinic has moved out of their building on State Street and the building is for sale. The City Council will rule on their zoning request in December, but it's very likely that the request will be denied and the zoning will remain at 12 units per acre (medium density).
The building on the southwest corner of State Street and Kirkland Avenue has been demolished and construction is under way on the "Kirkland Central" condominium project. To be completed by June, 2006, the project is a 5 story building with the main floor having 9000 square feet of retail space. There will be 110 condo units ranging in size from 474 to 1251 sq. ft., and in price from $139,950 to $489.950.
Mark Eliasen spoke about the Magnuson Park issue. The Seattle Parks Dept. is attempting to solicit the Washington National Guard to build the playfields, as a way to get the job done without having the funding. MBNA is opposed to the massive lighting proposed, and thinks that using the Guard in such a manner is not the best use of taxpayer money and not the best way the Guard could be ensuring our safety. An article appeared in the Seattle Times addressing this issue: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002073961_danny27.html
Our next meeting will be held on Monday, January 24 -- a week later than usual because of the Martin Luther King holiday.