Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Don Winters, the other co-chair of Moss Bay, spoke about the Kirkland Centennial Tree program. The City of Kirkland is planting a number of "Centennial Trees" this year to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kirkland. About 4 spots could still be needed to plant these and Don suggested we communicate via email about where these might be located. Don also mentioned a certificate the MBNA received for using our $25,000 "Neighborhood Connections" money to "save the animals".
Kellie Jordan of the Kirkland Downtown Association updated us on downtown activities coordinated by this group. The holiday lights are up, and Kellie wanted to thank Roof Truss Supply for decorating. Kirkland's Magical Night of Shopping will be Dec 1 with the Argosy ship being on hand. Kellie suggested visiting www.explorekirkland.com for more information. The Kirkland Downtown Association has their office at 111 Park Lane.
Newly elected City Councilman and Moss Bay resident Bob Sternoff spoke next. Bob mentioned the recent approval of a much needed tax increase for public safety, an increase of $57 per year for $500k house. Kirkland needs to increase sales tax revenue as a way to keep up with the escalating costs associated with becoming a major city. Bob mentioned that his background – Commercial Developer -- would give him the perspective to deal with problems such as this. A plan to rebuild Totem Lake into a "regional shopping experience" was in the works, Bob said. Street and traffic improvements and a new building complex combining mall space, offices, theatres, and residences, would change the face of the now-decrepit center. Parks – Bob told us that Juanita Beach Park was slated for a big overhaul, with a new setting for the historic Forbes Home, a boat house with rental boats, day moorage, and vastly improved sports fields.
The Downtown Action Team (DAT) has 32 members and has been busy conceptualizing several projects. Lakeshore Plaza, the lid over the Marina Park lot is in the works, though lots of issues, environmental among them, still need to be resolved.
A new Transit Center is in the planning phase for Third Street, with a $13 million Sound Transit budget. Lots of options are being looked at including creating more space by "undergrounding" the Metro sewer pumping station at Third Street and Park Lane. More info is available on the City's web page for the transit center http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/pw/cip/transitcenter/transitcenter.htm
Bob noted that there are vacancies on The Planning Commission and the Park Board and that Moss Bay members might want to apply.
Neal Christiansen of the Parking Advisory Committee addressed the group next. Neal noted that parking is scarce downtown and that there are only four remaining sites where public parking could possibly go in -- the Antique Mall, the McLeod site on Kirkland Ave, Lake and Central, and Marina Park lot expansion. Bob said that we need to figure out funding via a "Parking Reserve Fund". The parking requirements of Condo projects in Kirkland were discussed. For some projects, the city has granted variances, requiring 1.3 spaces per unit rather than the normal 1.7. Neal felt that this resulted in residents parking on the street and worsening the parking situation.
Mark Eliasen gave us a brief update on Moss Bay's "hot sheet" of neighborhood projects. Both the Pace Chemical site on 7th Ave. S. and the Green Funeral Home site are parcels in the process of being sold, but are held up by environmental issues. The "Chaffey Building" is in Design Review Board limbo, and little news is available. Bungie (division of Microsoft) is moved into their new home on Kirkland Avenue. Bob Sternoff noted that the Kirkland Hotel will start construction Dec 1 on the corner of Kirkland Ave. and Third Street -- news that was well received, as Moss Bay thinks this is a good-looking project! Check their web site for some drawings -- http://www.kirklandhotelgroup.com/
Our next meeting will be January 16.