Meeting Notes - November 21, 2011
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. City Council Members Doreen Marchione and Bob Sternoff were in attendance. We had a full house of about 70 due in part to the continued controversy over the proposed Potala Village project.
Our first guest was Eric Shields, Kirkland Planning Director. Eric described the process by which the Potala Village project is seeking approval. The project is a mixed use building with office space and 143 apartment units, located on the Southeast corner of Lake St. and 10th Ave. S. Eric explained how the parcel is zoned Neighborhood Business (BN) which allows business uses plus residential. There is no density limit on the residential. A shoreline permit is required. Due to a SEPA decision appeal, an environmental impact statement is now required for this project. The project passed its road concurrency test, but this also has been appealed. On November 15, 2011, the City Council adopted a 60-day emergency moratorium to consider Comprehensive Plan and/or Zoning Code amendments relating to the Neighborhood Business (BN) zone. The Kirkland Planning Commission will discuss the BN zoning of this parcel at its Dec 8 meeting. In short, it's looking like a rocky road for the project due to considerable opposition. Eric answered many questions, mostly from neighbors who oppose the project. The City has a Potala Village Page, and you can sign up for a listserv where you will receive email updates. An interesting memo created by Eric and Teresa Swan details the zoning history of the parcel.
Aaron Hollingbery of CamWest Development told us about their new project, to be named "Kirkland Commons", at State St. and 2nd Ave. S. It will be 15 condominium units consisting of two triplexes and 9 single family houses. One unit will be "affordable". Site work is expected to start in Jan or Feb and construction in early spring 2012. The houses will average 2000-2500 sq ft in size. Aaron forwarded a site plan pdf. It was reported that CamWest has been purchased by Toll Brothers, a large home builder from Pennsylvania. Aaron told us that this will not effect this project, as CamWest will operate as a separate division for at least 3 years.
Heidi Sowell and Sibel Yildiz of King County Wastewater Treatment Division told us about the 3rd St. sewer pump station and "forcemain" replacement project which is underway. Kirkland Ave. is in the process of being torn up from 3rd St. to the RR tracks. The pump station will be replaced and the street and sidewalks in the area upgraded. The portion of the project under the Transit Center was completed along with the center. The entire project will take 3 years with a summer 2014 completion. For more info check the County project web site.
Toby Nixon was our next guest. Toby is leading in his race against Jessica Greenway for Position 4 on the City Council, though the lead is only 182 votes. Toby explained that many votes were not valid because of signature issues and those might be corrected in the next few days. So stay tuned! If Toby does win, he is committed to serving the entire city, even though he lives in the annexation area. He is already familiar with Kirkland and the issues we face, partly because he was a State Rep from a district which included half of the city.
Our next meeting will be Jan 16, 2012 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - May 16, 2011
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. City Council Members Doreen Marchione, Bob Sternoff, and Dave Asher were in attendance.
Walt Krueger, President of Kirkland Kiwanis, told us about the upcoming pancake breakfast to benefit KITH (Kirkland Interfaith Transitions in Housing). The breakfast is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, 2011 from 7:30am – 11:30am and will be held at Peter Kirk Community Center, 352 Kirkland Ave. There is a $7 donation. Visit the Kiwanis web site for more info. The Moss Bay Neighborhood Association approved using our City neighborhood grant this year to benefit KITH.
Don Winters and Mark Eliasen reminded the group to be sure to track their hours performing volunteer work for projects benefiting the neighborhood, as we need to accumulate those in order to earn our grant funds from the City. Hours should be reported to Don Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Razore, owner of property at 434 Kirkland Way, was our next guest. Joe has a PAR request pending to change the zoning on the property. The changes would allow residential to be the predominant use. Currently the site is limited to 12% residential. In addition, the height allowed would increase from 3-5 stories to 8 stories, similar to the changes made in the zoning of Park Place, which is an adjacent property. This would result in a building height of 100'. Joe told us how he believes the buildings on the site would be more appealing with the increased height which would allow a smaller footprint and more step backs. The PAR is likely to be considered by the Planning Commission in 2012.
Lobsang Dargey, who presented at our March meeting about his planned Potala Village, gave us an update. The project is a 143 unit apartment building on 4 levels. Lobsang has agreed to meet the zoning requirements for parking rather than seek a parking modification. He feels that since the project is in a residential area, that this will keep overflow parking off local streets. There will be no retail at the site, as originally planned, but professional office instead. The project will be an environmentally friendly, "high end" quality building with a gym, conference center, and yoga. Environmental testing has been done and while the ground water is OK, the soil will need some cleanup due to previous uses, which included a dry cleaners and a gas station.
Teresa Swan, of the Kirkland Planning Dept, was on hand to help clarify zoning issues in relation to Potala Village. The height of the building is in relation to the "average building elevation" which means some areas of the building will be higher and others lower than the 30' allowed. A shoreline permit is required from the Dept of Ecology because part of the site is within 200' of Lake Washington. There is no design review necessary for this project because it is not in the Central Business District. For more information, including how to comment on the project, refer to the project data sheet.
Rob Butcher, editor of Kirkland Views, spoke about Kirkland Kudos. This is a program that recognizes businesses and individuals that are helping neighbors, picking up litter, sweeping sidewalks, participating in events and volunteering in our community.
Don Winters mentioned that the Kirkland Heritage Society is trying to finish the entry sidewalk at Heritage Hall by selling pavers engraved with names of the purchasers. A printable form is available here which can be mailed to the Heritage Society to order a paver. This is a very worthwhile project and a great way to have your name carved in stone.
Several "neighborhood updates" were also mentioned. Overlake Hospital has leased space on the northwest corner of 3rd St. and Central Way and will open a medical clinic there. The property at State St. and 2nd Ave. S. will not be sold to a prospective buyer as reported last meeting but is still be marketed by SRM Development as a 12 unit detached-condo project and a couple of developers are interested. Google is occupying the third building in their complex on 6th St. S.
AP Hurd of Touchstone Development reported in an email that they secured Design Review Board Approval for the Parkplace project in December 2010. They are continuing more detailed design and actively marketing the project to potential tenants and investors. The project is likely to be kicked off once a significant office prelease has been signed ensuring that capital can be secured to fully build out the first phase.
Dori Gillam of Senior Services told us about "Aging Your Way", a regional planning session for senior programs that was held on May 18.
Our next meeting will be May 16, 2011 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - March 21, 2011
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
We had a turnout of about 80 for the meeting, many of them neighbors of the proposed Potala Village development at 1020 Lake St. S. Our first guest was Lobsang Dargey, principal of Potala Village. Charlie Morgan, architect on the project, was also on hand. Lobsang gave us the details of his project which will be a 143 unit four story apartment building with 6000 square feet of retail on the ground level. The property is under what is called a "ground lease" which runs for 100 years. The building will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver designated residential building on the Eastside, and will incorporate such features as a "green roof". There is an open plaza planned for the front of the property on Lake St. The apartments will average 700 square feet and the rents will range from $1200 - $2600. There will be an underground parking garage. Moss Bay has received detailed information from the Kirkland Planning Dept., including how to comment on the project, which is available here.
Bea Nahon gave us the KAN (Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods) report. Coming up on May 30 is the 7 Hills of Kirkland bicycle event which is a benefit for KITH (Kirkland Interfaith Transition in Housing). Jim McElwee told us how this is a very worthwhile event which needs volunteers . Send a message to email@example.com if you can help. All volunteer hours should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can apply this to our matching grant.
Kari Page showed us a video with great information on the upcoming 520 tolling system called "Good to Go". The video is also available online here. The tolling, which was scheduled to start April 15, has been delayed until May or June because of various problems.
Don Winters updated the group on several issues. There will be a walk to benefit NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) at Marina Park on May 14. 1500 walkers are expected. Visit the NAMI web site for more info and to contact the organizers.
Phase 2 of the Hector's project, which was to start in June, has been pushed back until at least the end of the year. The owner of the property wants to lease existing office space in the phase 1 area before proceeding.
Don reported that the former Pace Chemical property on 7th Ave. S. will undergo yet another cleanup attempt. A 30 day comment period will be created and we will be notified of this.
A PAR request has been made by MRM Development to change the zoning on their property located at 434 Kirkland Way. They want multi-family to be the predominate use rather than the minor use currently allowed. In addition they want a maximum height of 8 stories rather than the current allowable 3-5 stories. In a memo to the Planning Commission, the Planning staff recommends putting this request off until 2012.
John Charpentier, of our association, reported that the property on the corner of State St. and 2nd Ave. S. is being sold to a developer who wants to build housing, possibly 12 detached-condo style units similar to Nettleton Commons.
Our next meeting will be May 16, 2011 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - January 17, 2011
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order.
Rod Steitzer, Kirkland Project Engineer was our first guest. Rod discussed a number of upcoming projects in our neighborhood or close by. First up was a scheduled revamp of the intersection of 6th Street and Central Way. This project will upgrade the intersection by providing increased roadway capacity, redesigned traffic signals, improved pedestrian facilities and bicycle lanes. The project will start in April and run through June, with two weekend closures of the intersection. Following this project, pedestrian bumpouts will be constructed along Central Way between Lake Street and 4th Street. Timeframe is June - September.
Another project will improve the intersection of 114th Ave. NE and NE 85th St. by building a second southbound-to-eastbound left-turn lane, upgrading traffic signal controller equipment, and adding Intelligent Transportation System elements: CC TV, video detection, signal timing and coordination, and pathway for connection to the future Traffic Center. Depending on coordination with the WSDOT, upgrades to the I-405 on-ramp may be included.
The sewer pump station located at Third St. and Park Lane will be replaced, along with the pipeline which runs from the station up Kirkland Ave. to the main sewer "interceptor" along the railroad right of way. A new building and sidewalks built to the "Park Lane standard" will be included.
The final project Rod mentioned was intersection improvements at the 6th St. S. and NE 68th St. The project will install a westbound to northbound right turn lane and sidewalk / curb enhancements at all four corners of the intersection and will improve pedestrian safety and maintain a safe school walk route. The project will start this summer and last several months.
The project engineer took some questions and has forwarded Moss Bay his reponses, which can be viewed here (PDF).
Kari Page, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, briefed us on the Neighborhood Matching Grant Program and answered questions about Moss Bay Board’s idea of using the Neighborhood Matching Grant funds ($2,076 for 2011/2012) to benefit a locally based human service agency. The group discussed various charity organizations and brainstormed ways to match the funds. The chairs took a poll. The group made a unanimous decision to move forward with the application allocating all of their funds to a human service agency. More information about which agency and how to match the funds will be discussed at a future meeting.
Our "Downtown Merchant Series" continued this month with Tiffany Pollard of Synergy Wellness Center telling us about her business. Kathleen Barber and Karuna Craig from the center were also on hand. They told us that the Synergy Wellness Center practitioners combine facets of Chinese medicine including acupuncture, energetic medicine, body-work, and dietary advice. They can treat various conditions such as pain management, ADHD, digestive disorders, and depression. The center is newly located at 515 Kirkland Way.
Don Winters reported on the zoning changes being looked at by the Planning Commission in regards to relaxing the requirement of retail uses on the first floor of buildings in the Central Business District. The only parcel now being recommended by the Planning Commission for this change, which would allow ground floor office use in addition to retail, is the Chaffey parcel at the Southeast corner of Lake St. and 1st Ave. S.
Followup note: The night after our neighborhood meeting, the City Council directed the Planning Commission to increase the scope of this possible change to consider office use on the ground floor in additional end-of-block areas. In addition to the Chaffey parcel, the Planning Commission will also consider the Northwest corner of 3rd and Central (formerly Amazon Fresh and First Mutual), the western end of Central Way, and the portion of Kirkland Avenue east of State Street (from Plaza on State Condos and continuing east to the Boulevard Condos). A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for 7PM on Thursday February 24. More information will follow as it becomes available.
It was mentioned that Meow Cat Rescue, which was a featured organization at a past Moss Bay NA meeting, has been having a tough time and could use support, either monetarily or otherwise.
Carolyn Hayek told us that the special wedding event that KirklandWeddings.com is offering on Valentine's Day has no takers so far, which would be a shame, since it's a great opportunity.
Our next meeting will be Mar 21, 2011 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.