Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Jeremy McMahan, Kirkland Planning Supervisor, was our first guest. Current zoning in the Central Business District requires retail uses on the first floor of all buildings. A loosening of this requirement for certain parts of downtown -- the so called 'end of block' areas -- has been proposed. These are areas that have had difficulty drawing retail uses, and offering office use in addition to retail may help fill these spaces. The Planning Commission will discuss this proposal at their Nov 18 meeting. For more information, read the document prepared for the Commission: http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/Assets/Planning/Planning+PDFs/CBD+Ground+Floor+Uses+PC+11182010.pdf
Jeremy updated us on a couple of developments downtown. About 26 of the 62 spaces in the new Bank of America building have been leased. Phase I is finishing up and Phase II of the McLeod (Hector's) project may begin early in 2011.
Kari Page, Kirkland's Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, gave a brief PowerPoint on the Eastside Rail Corridor and polled our group on possible options. Of those present 15 were in favor of dual use, commuter rail plus trail, 1 person was in favor of rail only, and 4 people were in favor of trail only. Some expressed a desire for more information we may have future presentations on this issue. Visit the City's Eastside Rail Corridor page.
Jonathan Ishmael, the Kirkland Police Dept's Community Resource Officer, was our next guest. Jon told us that Moss Bay does not have a serious crime problem. In the past three months there were ten burglaries, seven of which were in businesses. He recommended a tight neighborhood as the best defense against crime. Know your neighbors, use lights and alarms, and keep serial numbers was Jon's advice. Jon fielded questions and there were many. The subject of drunks causing problems and property damage was discussed. The police try to make their presence known during weekend nights in an effort to deter rowdy behavior. Jon mentioned that alcohol was a major cause of crime and that if alcohol were to disappear a lot of police jobs would also.
Our next meeting will be Jan 17, 2011 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Don Winters called the meeting to order.
Kurt Triplett, Kirkland's new City Manager, was our first guest. Kurt was selected by the City Council and took office on June 28. He previously spent 17 years working for King County, serving as Ron Simm's Chief of Staff and most recently as interim County Executive. Kurt described what he sees as focus areas for Kirkland:
Our Moss Bay business presenter was Kathy Evans, with a newly located Kathy Evans Beauty Studio at 138 Central Way in the Marina Heights building. Kathy's studio was previously located at Carillon Point, and she is excited to be downtown.
Bea Nahon gave us a KAN (Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods) update. KAN is working with Hopelink on food collection and is looking for volunteers on 9/25 and 10/9 for Eastside’s Month of Concern for the Hungry, which will take place from September 25 through October 23. Residents can find a full list of donation dropoff points – including grocery stores and fire stations – at www.eastsideforum.org/fooddrive.
On Sept 28 the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church is hosting a 45th District legislative forum.
Don Winters gave brief reports on several issues. Phase I of the Hector's project -- the Waterfront Market building renovation, should be completed by the end of the year. The new Mexican restaurant will be called Milagro and will be operated by Stuart McLeod, the owner of the property. Preliminary work has begun on Phase 2 of the project with the demolition of the old World Wraps building. Some pollutants were found as a result of a dry cleaning operation in the building years ago and the contaminated soil has been removed. Phase 2, which entails a new 2 story building that will be attached to the old Hector's building, may get started early in 2011.
The Transit Center rebuild should be finished by the end of the year. The Metro sewage pump station at the corner of 3rd St. and Park Lane be rebuilt in 2011-12 and will result in improved sidewalks.
Game developer Bungie has moved to Bellevue and their old building on Kirkland Ave. will be occupied the 343 Industries, another game developer owned by Microsoft. Some renovations to the building are taking place before they move in.
It was mentioned that Google has informed the city that it is increasing employment by 500 at their 6th St. S. complex. Google has enquired with Kirkland Planning Dept. about the feasibility of using the former Pace Chemical site on 7th Ave. S. for parking.
Don mentioned that the Argosy cruise boat MV Kirkland, a historic ferry which burned at the Marina Park dock, will not be rebuilt and that a new boat will be assigned to Kirkland.
Our next meeting will be Nov 15, 2010 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
AP Hurd, Vice President of Touchstone Development, was our first guest. AP updated us on the Park Place redevelopment which is undergoing Design Review. In 2008 Touchstone received approval for building several 8 story buildings, with smaller buildings tapering down towards Peter Kirk Park. A central plaza is designed for maximum sunlight. AP was asked about movie theaters and said that a two-screen specialty theater is looking likely. The project will be "phased" over 6-9 years in three of four phases starting in the northeast corner of the property. A new QFC will be built while the old one stays open. There will be over 300,000 square feet of retail space with 8 to 11 restaurants. Breaking ground should happen near the end of 2011 or 2012 and the first businesses should open around 2013.
Maura O’Brien, of the Washington Department of Ecology, was our next guest, giving us an update on the cleanup of the former Pace Chemical site on 7th Ave. S. Recent test boring on land surrounding the site has revealed that Vinyl Chloride, the main chemical of concern, was not present. It is however still present in the groundwater on the site. Most if not all of the contaminated soils have been removed. If this can be confirmed and no further cleanup action required, the site could be "delisted" with the DOE within a few months and be available for development or sale.
Seth Dostart, Director Kirkland Teen Center was next. The Center serves 9,000 kids in 26,000 visits with a staff of 6. 80% of the teens are Kirkland residents. The Bellevue YMCA will be taking over the contract to run the Center from Friends of Youth, a group which has been around since 1952. The programs and staff are not expected to change. The Center is open Tues – Sat at 3pm.
Stefeny Anderson, new manager of the Kirkland Wednesday Market, gave us an overview of the market for the 2010 season which opened May 5 and runs through Oct 13. There are new meat and cheese vendors with the aim of providing market goers with the ability to do all of their food shopping. The Market also has several types of prepared food and pizza. There will be weekly newsletters on the Market website.
Mike Metteer, of the Kirkland Parks Dept., was next. Mike told us about upcoming special events in Kirkland parks. This will be 32nd year in a row for summer concerts. Visit the Parks Dept. web site for a complete listing of summer events http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/parks/. Mike mentioned that Juanita Beach Park will be closed for 10 months for a much needed upgrade. The park has not been improved in about 50 years.
Katya Difani, Herbalist and owner of Herban Wellness 103 Lake St. told us about her business. We have been focusing on downtown business' by inviting local merchants to our meetings. Katya described therapeutic use of herbs, tea blends, herbal concentrated extracts, and Aroma Therapy. Katya also teaches classes and can custom-blend herbal teas for various health issues. The store is open Tues – Sat 10:30 – 6pm and Sun 12 – 5pm.
Don Winters briefed us on two ongoing projects in town. Houghton Center is nearing completion and the new Metropolitan Market is now scheduled to open June 3. Two new tenants, Nature's Pet, and Sports Clips are on board and the center is 100% leased. The parking lot will be upgraded and repaved along with the renovation.
Phase I of the Hector's project -- the renovation of the Waterfront Market building on Lake St. -- is also nearing completion. A new Mexican restaurant will fill the northwest corner of the building which was previously the home of a smaller eatery. The new place will be 8,000 square feet, more than twice as large as the old restaurant space. Some of the upstairs office space remains to be leased. Depending on this, phase II of the project, a new building tying in with Hector's, will start by the end of the year with a tentative completion date of next summer.
Our next meeting will be Sept 20, 2010 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Nydia White of Meow Cat Rescue http://www.meowcatrescue.org was our first guest. Meow is located near the PCC store on NE 68th St. in Houghton. It is a "no kill" shelter that accepts dogs and cats for adoption or temporary foster care. Animals adopted from Meow can be returned if they do not work out. Meow has volunteer opportunities and is always in need of donations.
Luanne Erikson, of Howard Mandville Gallery http://www.howardmandville.com briefed us on that business as part of our new focus on neighborhood businesses. The gallery, located at 120 Park Lane, is family owned and the owners have taken an active role in the community. Custom framing services are offered – they can frame virtually anything. Wine tasting is often part of the shows at the gallery.
Dave Ramsay, Kirkland's City Manager, give his farewell "Walk Around Kirkland". Dave will be retiring in early April after 12.5 years on the job. Dave mentioned that annexation is set to happen in June 2011 and transition issues are being addressed. More police officers will be needed and that process has been started (it takes 18 months to get new officers fully trained and up to speed). The annexation area is served by three fire departments, two utility companies, and two garbage haulers -- a confusing situation that needs to be addressed. Dave said that difficult financial times have impacted the City's ability to make all the changes that are needed.
Totem Lake is the geographic center of the city. Dave mentioned that Evergreen Hospital has expanded and is working well. Unfortunately, Totem Lake Mall is not working, is for sale, and the partners are suing each other. Dave hopes that a local buyer with commitment to the area will step up.
Juanita make-over: Juanita Beach Park has been upgraded and looks much better than it has in years. At Juanita Bay Park, the news is that the Audubon Society is taking over the rangers program. Juanita Village doing well and Phase III of the build-out will start soon.
The abandoned Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad line through Kirkland was Dave's next topic. The Port of Seattle has purchased the right of way and together with King County getting a deal done to establish ownership of various sections of the line. None of the property is owned by the City of Kirkland. Kirkland will participate in the regional process to determine the best use of the line. Community involvement is requested. Visit the City's Eastside Rail Corridor Web Page.
Dog Park, or lack of one, was Dave's next issue. The challenge is finding a site due to the NIMBY factor. Neighbors even fought the former Houghton landfill location. Dave wondered "If not at a landfill, where?".
Dave shifted to the Downtown area. The Bank of American building is taking shape. The McLeod (Hector's) project, a series of 2-3 story buildings, is underway. We have renderings of the Hector's project here. The Heathman Hotel employees have adopted Heritage Park and are doing a great job keeping it neat and clean. Dave thinks business – community partnerships such as this are important.
The Park Lane improvement plan has been approved. There will be rubberized sidewalks and a festive theme. The lane will be made pedestrian-only at times.
Park Place--construction is on hold pending financing and the outcome of litigation. The plan is for the existing center will be scrapped and re-built.
Google campus – The City hopes they expand into all buildings.
Rose Hill Meadow Park (south of Safeway) turned out great and NE 85th corridor improvement project is under construction and will be completed this fall (2010). This "extreme makeover" will feature sidewalk improvements, undergrounding of utilities, and medians in places on 85th. There are 90 properties affected by the project.
The Costco gas station has been approved and Dave is not sure why Costco has not built it.
Transit Center should be completed this fall and there is new public pay parking at the antique mall site.
Sales tax increased year over year in February for the first time in 14 months
Dave Ramsays “next phase” after retiring will consist of consulting and non-profit work. Dave will continue to live in Kirkland. Dave’s advice to citizens of Kirkland “Balance expectations against resources”. He also gave some advice to his successor:
The goal is have someone on board in June
Doug Engle of GNP Railway http://gnprail.com gave a PowerPoint presentation on his company's proposal to run trains on the Eastside rail corridor. Doug is partners with Chief Operating Officer Tom Payne, founder of the highly successful Central Western Railroad in Canada. GNP Railway was the winning bidder to run rail services on the abandoned BNSF rail corridor between Snohomish and Bellevue. Freight service is now running
GNP proposes running passenger service between Snohomish and Bellevue utilizing DMUs (Diesel Multiple Units). The rail bed would be upgraded in place by a special train designed for this purpose, a process that would be much cheaper than a new rail line. $400 million would be required to upgrade to passenger service. Doug mentioned that he hopes that the Kirkland City Council comes out if favor of this proposal. He mentioned that some people are opposed.
Gail Gorud, a U.S. Census worker, told us about the 2010 Census and how an accurate count is important to the area and the country. Temporary jobs are available doing census work. If interested contact Gail at (425) 827-5273 firstname.lastname@example.org Or, the Bellevue office for the 2010 Census is (425) 749-5090. Nationwide, Census applicants can call 866-861-2010
Our next meeting will be May 17, 2010 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. There were 45 people in attendance.
Our first presentation was on the redevelopment of Houghton Center, former location of Houghton Market. Tom Markl of Nelson Legacy Group told us that this local family owned business has owned the property since 1960. They are long term investors – not developers.
Rick Driftmier, architect on the project, told us that Metropolitan market will occupy the old Houghton Market space on the upper level and also include several thousand square feet of space on the lower level, previously occupied by other businesses. The State Dept of Licensing is gone and will not return. The roof over the lower level has been removed and the atrium will now be an open air courtyard. Bartell Drugs will remain, as well as most of the tenants on west side of center. There are two retail spaces on courtyard still to be leased. Renderings of the project are available on the Driftmier Architects web site http://www.driftmier.com/retail/houghton-center/
Todd Korman - Chief Operating Officer of Metropolitan Market and Jeff Baskett, Kirkland Store Director, told us that Metropolitan Market was founded 1971 and now has five stores besides Kirkland with a total of 675 employees. The stores are known for high quality products, outstanding service and a knowledgeable staff. The mix of products is 60% standard grocery products and 40% unique, specialty products (fresh, natural, organic). On the upper level will be seafood, deli, and fresh foods, while the lower level will have a wellness dept, gelato & frozen gelato cakes plus the back room function. Most Metropolitan Markets are about 20,000 – 25,000 square feet (about half the size of a large chain store). The Kirkland store will be 27,000 square feet on two levels and will have a staff of about 115 employees. Metropolitan Market is holding a job fair Jan 26 10-5pm at the Marriott Courtyard in Kirkland. The store is expected to open in mid April and will be open 24 hours a day
Report by Bea Nahon, Moss Bay representative to the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods (KAN):
1. City Manager David Ramsay is retiring in March, 2010 and the City is in the process of identifying and hiring a successor. The public is invited to a special forum on Tuesday January 26 at 7PM at City Hall to provide input. Specifically, they are asking for citizen input on the current issues and challenges facing the City - now, 5 years from now and 10 years from now. They also want to know what citizens think the personal and leadership characteristics will be important for a new City Manager to meet those challenges. If you would like more information about this meeting or if you want to provide responses to these questions online, please see http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/News_Room/nr010810CMForum.htm and/or http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/CMO/Kirkland_City_Manager_Recruitment.htm
2. The Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods had a presentation by an organization known as KDOG, which is seeking to have an off-leash dog park in Kirkland. If you are interested in knowing more, please see http://www.kdog.org/
3. Due to City budget cuts, there will be decreased funds available for park maintenance. At KAN's next meeting, a significant agenda item will be discussion of how neighborhoods and businesses can partner with the City to provide ongoing maintenance of our parks. Our parks are an important part of what makes Kirkland a great place to live! If you have ideas that you would like to share about how this could work, or if you have specific ideas about how this could work for the Moss Bay neighborhood, please contact Bea at email@example.com . The KAN meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend - the next meeting is Wednesday, March 10 at 7PM at Heritage Hall. You are especially encouraged to attend this next meeting because of this important issue.
Carolyn Hayek was our next speaker. Carolyn has been on the Planning Commission for the maximum term of 8 years and will be retiring in March. Carolyn mentioned that she is the only member of the commission who lives in Moss Bay and also the only one who lives in a multi-family building. If you are interested in serving on the Commission, visit the Planning Commission web page and sign up for email alerts. A call for applications should be coming soon. The Planning Commission is involved with long term issues such as zoning, neighborhood plans etc. Developments come before Planning Commission if zoning change is part of the development plan.
Recent meetings of the Commission have dealt with Kirkland's Shoreline Master Program Update and tree ordinance changes. Carolyn mentioned that the Park Place Project has been remanded to the City for some changes in the Environmental Impact Statement as a result of an appeal of the project. Once the revision is complete, the Planning Commission will review the project once again in light of the new EIS.
A Planning Commission meeting with the City Council is planned for Feb 2 from 6-7pm at City Hall to outline the commissions work for 2010. Upcoming Commission activities will include the Lakeview & Houghton neighborhood plan revisions. The Moss Bay plan review keeps getting postponed.
Our next meeting will be March 15, 2010 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.