November 20, 2006
Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Mario Morales, CEO of the new Kirkland Business Association (www.kirklandbusiness.org) was our first guest. Mario was formerly associated with the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. The new KBA is focused on smaller businesses that are located in Kirkland or do business in Kirkland. Larger businesses like Costco can join KBA as "mentors". Mario mentioned that KBA meetings tend to informal events and the group will start a regular networking breakfast meeting early in 2007. KBA wants to do charity work for local causes such as supporting the Kids at Risk program. Membership has been growing rapidly and should soon be up to 100 members. Their next event will be Dec 17 at the Kirkland Windermere office. KBA also has plans to publish a Kirkland Buyers Guide.
Announcements -- Margo Mitchell, of the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, is raising money to reduce domestic abuse through a bowl-a-thon which will be held March 3. 2007.
Ken Dueker, MBNA's representative to the Downtown Action Team and the Parking Advisory Board, reported on those organizations. The DAT is undertaking a strategic planning process. At the November 9 meeting (minutes), they brainstormed the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of downtown. The PAB is beginning a public process to that may lead to extending pay parking to all of the Lake and Central parking lot, and change the hours from 9 AM - 6PM to 11 AM - 9 PM.
Carolyn Hayek reported on a group that is sponsoring a wedding program for Valentines Day. Couples are encouraged to take advantage of the program to get married or renew their vows at the Heritage Hall in Kirkland. For more information visit www.kirklandweddings.com
Kirkland Police Sergeant Bryan McNaghten was on hand to give an overview of Moss Bay from the Police Dept's perspective. Kirkland is overall a safe community, however, the downtown area has 2 distinct crowds -- the evening crowd of diners and local residents and the night crowd of bar patrons. Sometimes the bar patron group gets unruly. This issue is being addressed by the bars themselves along with the State Liquor Control Board and the Kirkland Police and Fire Departments. The bars are responsible for providing their own security, but even the best security is unable to control a large crowd. The Kirkland Police tends to send all officers on duty to the downtown area at closing time.
Bob Sternoff, Kirkland City Council, was present and gave an interesting report on issues facing the Council. Bob is the Chair of the Annexation committee, which is taking time to do a thorough review of that issue. It is important to make the right decision because it will have long term impacts on the city. For more info on the annexation issue, visit the city's web site: http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/CMO/Annexation_Information.htm
Moss Bay's next meeting will be held January 15, 2007.
Meeting Notes - September 18, 2006
Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. Our first speaker was Andy Loos, Seattle Development Manager, SRM Development. SRM has three projects in the works for Kirkland. The first is the former Sauder Door site, a 7.2 Acre parcel located on 6th St. S. This is in the Everest neighborhood, but borders directly on Moss Bay. It will be a 185,000 sq ft, 3 building office project with a unique campus setting. The old door factory has been demolished. Next, Andy briefed us on the Assembly of God Site, on the southeast corner of State St. and 2nd Ave. S. SRM plans a 2 story office project of 37,000 sq ft, with 143 parking spaces, or 3.2 per 1000 sq ft of floor space. During construction, parking will be leased from the Unitarian church across the street. The third SRM project will be Merrill Gardens Assisted living, a 116 unit 5 story building with 143 total parking spaces. The project will utilize a City right-of-way and the 20 existing public spaces will be replaced. In addition, 50 extra spaces will be created for public use (pay parking). Andy mentioned that the parking impact of this type of development is very low (.5 spaces per unit), making it a good fit for downtown. Construction will be underway by May or June, 2007.
Next we had a presentation on Kirkland's possible annexation of the Finn Hill, Upper Juanita, and Kingsgate neighborhoods, a proposed addition of 33,000 residents. Marilynne Beard, Assistant City Manager, along with City Manager Dave Ramsay and several staffers were on hand. Growth Management encourages annexation because cities are better equipped to provide urban services than counties. The current population of Kirkland is 47,000 and the annexation would raise that to 80,000. Since the area has little commercial space and tax revenue, there would be a net deficit of $4.8 million per year. The state of Washington will provide a 10 year subsidy of about $4 million per year if Kirkland annexes by 2010. The Kirkland City Council will explore the issue in late 2006. Questions brought up in the meeting will be answered on the annexation web site.
Carolyn Hayek of the Planning Commission and the Downtown Action Team (DAT) spoke next. DAT is requesting funds from the city to update the earlier vision for downtown. The planning Commission recommends zoning changes, but only the City has the power to enact zoning changes -- some of which are under consideration now, including the controversial Floor Area Ratio (FAR) changes.
Don Winters and Mark Eliasen went over the Moss Bay "hot list" of issues. The on again, off again move of the former Green Funeral Home chapel was discussed, with the latest news that the move might go through after all. The new location would be across 4th Ave. S. on Unitarian Church property. The Pace Chemical project is in the environmental limbo, but steps are being taken to finish the cleanup and complete the sale to CamWest Development. Truckloads of dirt are currently being removed from the site. CamWest proposes a 60 unit mix of condos and single family homes on the 5 acre property.
Our next meeting will be Nov. 20, 2006.
A mysterious message was found after the meeting, written on the back of a meeting agenda left behind:
Meeting Notes - May 15, 2006
Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. Penny Sweet, organizer of Kirkland's 4th of July festivities, gave us a preview of events for 2006. There will be a parade, fireworks, and a picnic. There is a need for volunteers and contributions to make these events successful. For more information, visit http://www.celebratekirkland.org
Mayor Jim Lauinger was our next speaker. Jim told us that Kirkland's sales tax revenue was ahead of forecast, though mostly driven by development activities that could wane. Sales at retail stores were up by 1-2%. All in all, the budget is looking good for this year, Jim thought.
Jim mentioned the annexation issue. Kirkland is considering annexing a large area encompassing 13,000 households and 35,000 people. These are mostly residential areas without good sources of sales tax, which could result in services provided costing more than taxes collected, an estimated $5 million annual shortfall. Help from the state will be available to bridge the gap for 10 years. Jim does not support burdening current residents with higher taxes resulting from annexation. If the city decides that it favors annexation, the issue would be decided by a vote of those residents in the annexation areas only.
Ray Steiger, Capital Projects Manager, Kirkland Public Works Department, was our next guest. Ray updated us on the planned 3rd St. Transit Center which Sound Transit will be funding at $13 million. Three "stakeholders" will have a say in what gets built, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and the City of Kirkland. There will be an Community Open House Thursday, May 25, 5-7PM at the Kirkland Maintenance Center - 915 8th Street - to review concepts. Citizen input is vital to a successful project. For more information visit these web sites:
A new traffic signal at Kirkland Ave. and 3rd Street will be installed soon after the transit center design is finalized.
Ray reported on the Central Way project to be completed by mid June, incorporating "bump outs" on the north side of Central and the trial elimination of one eastbound lane, which will add 45 parking spots. This summer State St. will be paved from 5th Ave. S. North to Kirkland Ave.
Deb Eddy was our next guest. Deb was a Kirkland city official for years and was mayor during the 90s. She is now running for state representative from the 48th district, a large area which encompasses the Moss Bay Neighborhood. Deb was instrumental in forming the neighborhood association movement in Kirkland. For more info on Deb's campaign, go to http://debeddy.net
Moss Bay's John Charpentier reported on his meeting with SRM development concerning their project on the site of the former Assembly of God church in the block between 2nd and 3rd Aves S. along State St. To be completed in the fall of 2007, the development will be a two story, 37,000 square foot office building with underground parking for 112 cars. Vehicle entry will be on 3rd Ave. S. only.
Glenn Peterson reported on another proposed project by SRM, this one an assisted living complex proposed for Kirkland Pub site on Kirkland Ave. Since the developer hopes to incorporate some city owned land into the project, hearings will be held, hopefully allowing some citizen input. The proposal is for 120 residential units on 4 floors with retail on street level. Merrill Gardens will operate the home.
Kirkland Parks Board member Cindy Zech was our next speaker. Cindy mentioned that "ivy pulls" are helping cut down invasive plants in parks, with the Carillon Woods site being the focus of removal at this time, and Watershed Park scheduled next. Cindy encourages folks to turn out to lobby against using Peter Kirk park land for the new transit center. Cindy is the Moss Bay liaison to the Parks Board and you can email her about park issues at email@example.com
Meeting Notes - March 20, 2006
Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. David Godfrey, Kirkland's Transportation Engineering Manager gave a presentation, along with a PowerPoint slide show, about Parking requirements in Kirkland and how they are determined for new condo developments. The current Kirkland regulations require 1.7 parking spots per unit or a study to be done to calculate the correct ratio of parking spots to units based on the mix of living units in the project. This often results in less than 1.7 per unit in projects that are built. David mentioned that parking management can be optimized by creating a market among residents for surplus owned parking spaces. Street parking issues are complex. Some want free street parking, but that may encourage high rise residents to opt away from buying enough space for their vehicles. Some in the audience wanted the city to require sufficient parking for the residents of a building. Do not give them an option to not buy parking and park on the streets. Others thought that some type of ban on street parking might be implemented, but David mentioned that enforcement of such rules can be problematic.
David discussed pedestrian issues at the intersection of State and Kirkland Ave, that several Moss Bay members have mentioned in recent months. Lighting will be dramatically improved when the Kirkland Central condo and the "Heathman Kirkland" hotel projects are finished. In addition, a traffic signal is scheduled to be installed at the intersection in 2009, when it will be incorporated into the design of the new 3rd Street Transit Center. David said that public comments and pressure on the city council may help prioritize this project sooner.
We reported on ongoing projects. Don Winters noted that the former Pace Chemical building on 7th Ave. S. has been demolished, though the sale of the property is still awaiting resolution of environmental issues. Moss Bay received email from Seattle developers, SRM Development, who are in the process of buying the old Assembly of God church property on the corner of State St. and 2nd Ave. S. The proposed project would be a two story office building. We will be meeting with the developer to get further information. It was reported that the Chaffee project proposed for the corner of Lake St. and 2nd Ave. S. has been taken off the table for now.
Kurt Clark, of www.savetherailroad.org was next to speak. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is selling the 47 mile right-of-way between Renton and Snohomish. If the trail is purchased by a regional entity, most likely under the lead of King County, Kurt would like to see the corridor developed in a "multi-modal" way, so that the existing rails are left in place. This would preserve the Dinner Train, which does $10 million dollars in business yearly and creates jobs. The unusually wide 100’ right of way would allow rails and trails to coexist, with proper safety fencing. The County has until April 30 to negotiate an exclusive bargaining agreement for of the right of way. Cost figures being floated are in the $5 billion range. Mayor Jim Lauinger was in attendance and mentioned that councilman Tom Hodgson and Daryl Grigsby of Public Works are the Kirkland contacts for the project. The council wants to preserve all options as far as trail usage.
Carolyn Hayek, chairperson of both the Kirkland Planning Commission and the Downtown Action Team (DAT) was our next guest. The Planning Commission has been reviewing the Market and Norkirk neighborhood plans, but has found that most people do not want change, so a "vision statement" will be the result of the review. Attempts to increase density in these neighborhoods, via measures such as smaller lots and innovative housing, are probably out, due to guidance from the city council
There is a suggestion to decrease Floor Area Ratio regulations in an attempt to reduce the size of houses being built. The change, however, could have some unintended consequences relating to Accessory Dwelling Units and historic homes
Carolyn mentioned that the Downtown Action Team meets quarterly and deals with the future of downtown. DAT created the Downtown Strategic Plan as a vision for Kirkland, but now is searching for its role. The Marina Park lid was conceptualized, but needs a champion, possibly a City Council member, to see it through.
The revision, "staged narrowing", of Central Way is under way and will be finished in the next few months. It will be done in a way that can be reversed if traffic problems are created. The new 3rd Street Transit Center planning is coming up!
Our next meeting will be May 15, 2006.
Meeting Notes - January 16, 2006
Moss Bay Co-Chair Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. Mark mentioned that Moss Bay had received a generous donation of $250 from the Portsmith Condominium Association. Rob Brown, of that group, presented the check and said that he hoped the donation would spur more donations from other groups and individuals.
Mark pointed out that Jim Lauinger was present at the meeting and that he had recently been elected Mayor of Kirkland. The mayor is chosen from among the City Council, by a vote of the seven members.
Our first guest was Daryl Grigsby, Kirkland's Director of Public Works. Daryl, a Kirkland resident of 12 years, manages the largest department in the city, with 260 vehicles and a budget of $10 million. Daryl addressed the parking problem in Kirkland. A parking study in 2002 identified a shortage of 55 parking spots in the downtown area. One means of mitigating the shortage is the "Parksmart Program", which encourages downtown employees to park in the library parking garage.
The issue of new development parking was addressed. The current standard is that 1.7 parking spaces per unit must be provided, however there is a question as to the accuracy of this number. As a result, developers often can get a lower number approved, sometimes based on a "one spot per bedroom" general rule.
Daryl fielded some questions and comments. Some claimed that one bedroom units often had two adults with two cars and only one space. Several commented that the reduced parking requirements were not sufficient. Kirkland could give developers incentives to add parking to projects, was one suggestion. Glenn Peterson of the Parking Advisory Board said that their group was about to propose a zoning study of appropriate parking requirements for new downtown developments.
Brian Fritz and Dan Scheider of Trammell Crow Residential updated us on their two projects. The Boulevard, under construction on Kirkland Ave, is a 119 unit project that will be complete in September, 2006. Units are on the market and selling well. Brian mentioned that their State Street/2nd Ave. S. project will get started soon. It will have 124 units / 157 bedrooms, with 167 parking spaces including 10 guest spots. Unlike The Boulevard, this complex will have no retail. The construction will use light gauge steel, poured floors, steel wrapped studs, and almost no wood -- providing resistance to the water problems that have plagued newer buildings in recent years. Construction starts in February should be finished in 18 months.
Bruce Knowlton of CamWest Development spoke next. Bruce told us that CamWest had purchased the Nettleton site, better known as Green Funeral Home, in December, and planned to build 30 homes in a combination of single and multi unit buildings on the 2.7 acre property. Current plans are to move the historic Nettleton home to the corner of the property on State Street and 4th Ave. S., renovate it, and sell it as a single family home. The chapel will be offered to the church across the street and would be moved, while several other outbuildings on the property will be demolished, probably in March. CamWest will haul away contaminated soil discovered on the property.
Bruce mentioned the Pace Chemical site on 7th Ave. S. CamWest has had an option on this five acre property for several years now, but contamination on the site has prevented closure of the purchase. The seller is working to clean up the site, but when this will be completed is uncertain.
Don Winters mentioned that the Kirkland Hotel is finally starting construction at 220 Kirkland Ave, and that more information could be found in an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Our next meeting will be March 20, 2006.