Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Robert Pantley was our first guest. Robert is a developer who wants to build "residential suites" in downtown Kirkland on the "Crab Cracker" site, located on Central Way. Residential suites fall somewhere between a hotel use and an apartment use, where a small unit -- between 160 and 340 square feet in this case -- is rented for longer periods than a hotel. The units will have bathrooms but share kitchen facilities and rent for substantially less than traditional apartments, about $600 to $800 per month. Robert told us about his existing similar projects in Redmond. The projects are built near transit centers and attract people who do not have automobiles. In Robert's Redmond project of 61 units, there are only 28 parking spots used. The proposed site on Central Way is 48,000 square feet and the project is to have several hundred units. On Oct 4 the Planning Commission is considering whether to amend the zoning code for some downtown and Totem Lake areas to allow residential suites. The City Council will take up the matter at their Oct. 16 meeting.
Two levies are up for vote in November and we had City people on hand to explain why the additional funding was needed. Ray Steiger, Director of Public Works explained the need for the Roads levy. Basically the needs of our roads system far exceed available funds and if we don't want to let our system fall into disrepair, then this funding is needed. The levy would cost the average homeowner about $77 per year.
Michael Cogle, Kirkland Parks Deputy Director, explained how parks bonds built Juanita Bay Park in 1978, and how another bond in 1989 led to the North Kirkland Community Center, among other things. The cost of the Parks levy would average about $55 per year.
We had a spirited pro and con forum, moderated by Bea Nahon. Chuck Pilcher spoke in favor of the roads levy and Bob Style spoke against. Bob felt that the City could easily fund roads if they managed their existing funds better. Scott Morris spoke in favor of the Parks levy, explaining that essential services have become so expensive that if we want good parks, more funding is necessary. Bob Style again took the "con" view.
Don Winters updated the group on several projects planned for the Moss Bay Neighborhood. The Hector's parcel, which has been under redevelopment, has undergone a change of plans. The parking will now be above ground on four levels above a single level of retail towards the rear of the parcel. Additional floors of office space will also be built. There will be a courtyard on Lake Street between Hector's and the Waterfront Market. This plan goes before the Design Review Board on Oct. 1. You can view the plans here. SRM Development plans to build a new campus on the "pace site", 500 7th Ave. S., for Google. The campus will be somewhat similar in size and style to the exiting campus on 6th St. S. SRM will come to a future meeting, probably in November, to brief us on the plans. CamWest Development has been in pre-permit talks with the Planning Dept. with tentative plans to build 17 single family condo units on the Kirkland Professional Center property on west side of State St. between 3rd and 5th Aves S. The project would be similar to Nettleton Commons. More pre-permit talks came from a developer who wants to build 80 units of residential above ground floor retail on the White Swan car wash property on Central Way.
Our next meeting will be November 19, 2012 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.