Meeting Notes - November 18, 2013
Don Winters called the meeting to order. We had a turnout of about 40 members. City Council Member Toby Nixon was in attendance.
Chuck Pilcher told us about his proposal to change the name of the Kirkland's downtown area from the "Central Business District" to the "Central Waterfront District". Chuck feels that this is a more appropriate name and would change the way we think about downtown. He has written a white paper detailing the proposal and the reasoning behind it. Read it here.
Rich Lerz, CEO of Nytec Engineering, was our next guest. Nytec, 38 year old company, is opening a new office at 416 6th St. S. The building, which formerly housed the Kirkland Municipal Court and Studio East, is being completely renovated and expanded and will be LEED Platinum. Nytec has worked with Microsoft and other tech companies, helping them to bring hardware and software products to market. There will be about 100 employees at the location. Nytec has "adopted" a segment of the Cross Kirkland Corridor and will make some of their parking spaces available for public use on weekends. The building should be completed by March, when Nytec will hold a grand opening. Rich was assisted in his presentation by Nytec employees Alexandra Dorsett, Loma Gregg and Vince Ball.
Moss Bay Board member Aimee Voelz told us about a focus group that she attended, hosted by the City of Kirkland. The City, along with the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods, recently established a program to reenergize Kirkland’s neighborhoods. On October 28th, the city invited representatives from each of Kirkland’s 14 neighborhood associations to provide input on what a success would look like for neighborhoods and for neighborhood associations. We learned that the city is launching a pilot program in the Juanita, Evergreen Hill and Finn Hill neighborhoods where $150,000 will be directed to minor transportation-related improvements in 2014. In 2015, a safety levy of $150,000 is available for updates like safe walk routes to schools, and pedestrian and bike safety. While we have the city’s focus, we have a great opportunity to work with the city on improvements or programs that we want to have in Moss Bay. To do this, we first need to get clear what Moss Bay’s Neighborhood Association’s mission should be. For example, Finn Hill rallies around their parks and open spaces. What do we want Moss Bay’s Neighborhood Association’s focus to be? Business and development issues and how they affect traffic, parking and noise? Protecting the unique character of downtown? Do we want to address issues that foster a sense of community, where people can get to know their neighbors? What about developing safety plans in case of emergencies? At the next meeting in January we’ll include time to develop the mission. We will also solicit feedback ahead of time by sending a survey to everyone who is on the Moss Bay mailing list.
The Kirkland Planning Department was on hand to lead us in a Kirkland 2035 visioning process. Eric Shields, Marilynne Beard, Teresa Swan, Janice Coogan and Kari Page, broke meeting attendees into four groups, with each group answering a number of questions about Kirkland's future and how we perceive it. The City is using this and other input methods to shape a major update to the Comprehensive Plan. Lots more info, videos, and ways to voice your opinions are located on the City web site here.
Our next meeting will be Jan 20, 2013 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - September 16, 2013
Don Winters called the meeting to order. We had a big turnout for the candidate forum and other presentations. City Council members Toby Nixon, Shelley Kloba, and Amy Walen were in attendance, as well as the Council candidates.
Council candidates Jay Arnold and Martin Morgan (Position 1) and Doreen Marchione and Bill Henkens (Position 7) were our guests for the candidate forum. Candidates were asked a number of questions on a wide range of subjects including downtown business health, parking, and traffic.
We also asked each candidate 5 yes/no questions:
1. Do you support Initiative 522 that would require labeling of food with genetically altered materials? Answers: All 4 candidates answered YES
2. Do you support the closing of the Houghton transfer station?
Answers: Arnold and Marchione answered YES, Morgan and Henkens answered NO
3. In November, some Kirkland residents – including many of our neighbors in Lakeview and Houghton – will vote on whether or not the Houghton Community Corporation should be continued. Do you support the continuation of the Houghton Community Corporation?
Answers: Morgan, Arnold and Henkens answered YES, Marchione answered NO
4. The City is exploring having our downtown core named as a Designated Urban Center which could bring additional transportation dollars for us. It would also mean planning for future density of housing and jobs in downtown Kirkland. Do you support going forward to have downtown Kirkland named as a Designated Urban Center?
Answers: All 4 candidates answered YES
5. The City Council election is non-partisan. Has your campaign accepted, or will your campaign accept, any contributions from Democrat or Republican committees?
Answers: Arnold, Henkens and Marchione answered YES, Morgan answered NO
Janice Coogan, Senior Planner with the City of Kirkland, and told us about "Kirkland 2035" process. This is a conversation about planning for the next 20 years. Areas discussed range from the Comprehensive Plan update to various specific topics such as the Cross Kirkland Corridor, Totem Lake Plan, and Parks Recreation and Open Space. There will be a Community Planning Day on Oct 19, 10AM - 2PM, at the Peter Kirk Community Center, 352 Kirkland Ave. Janice highly recommends we attend and provide input the City is looking for. For more information: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/Community/Kirkland2035.htm
Questions came up about the Potala Village project at 1006 Lake St. S. Coucilmember Toby Nixon explained that the City is appealing the court decision that gave the developer the right to build the number of units that were allowed under the zoning in effect when he first contacted the City. The City now wants to limit the maximum number of units to 48. The developer is going ahead with his permitting process for 97 units, even though this could be disallowed were the city to prevail in the appeal. More info on the City's Potala Village Page.
Ed Segat of Continental Properties told us about that company's plans to build at 4th and Central, the "White Swan" site. The project will have 76 residential apartments and 9,730 square feet of ground floor retail space and underground parking for 115 cars. Entry to the project will be on Central way with "right in, right out" only traffic flow. Planning documents for the project can be viewed here: Part 1 and Part 2 (drawings)
Our next meeting will be Nov 18, 2013 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - May 20, 2013
Don Winters called the meeting to order. About 35 people were in attendance, including City Councilmembers Doreen Marchione, and Dave Asher. Melinda O'Rourke baked excellent brownies for the meeting.
Kirkland Deputy Parks Director Michael Cogle was our first guest. Michael gave us a PowerPoint demo of work that will be done in the near future to improve the parks in the Moss Bay Neighborhood and all of the city. A general outline of the work is online here. Specific projects for our neighborhood will include inspection of the pilings and redecking of aging Marina Park docks. Plastic decking material that allows light to pass will be used. Also, Brink Park will see some improvements. The work is funded by the 2012 Parks Levy.
Officer Brynn Johnson gave us a Kirkland Police update. Moss Bay has seen a decline in arrests in the downtown area since the number of bars has decreased. Brynn told us that the police are excited to be moving into their new headquarters, located in the new Public Safety Building behind Fred Meyer. The new space will be much larger, more centrally located, and have a larger jail.
Lisa McConnell of Eastside Trail Advocates briefed us on the legal battle over the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Ballard Terminal Railroad sued to stop Kirkland from removing the rails on the corridor. A federal judge dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, but the Surface Transportation Board, a federal agency, will hear the case and still could decide to allow Ballard to reactivate the rail line. A decision is expected in 3-9 months. Lisa encouraged us to provide input for the corridor master plan. More info on that here.
Rick Chesmore, architect for Stuart McLeod's Lake Street Place (Hector's), reported on the project. The latest plan is to construct a 13,958 sq. ft. addition to the existing Kirkland Waterfront Market building. The project includes a 965 sq. ft. ground floor addition to the Milagro restaurant and 12,993 sq. ft. of new office space. This project (Phase I) is a part of a larger development to be constructed in two phases. Phase I is one of three buildings that were approved with conditions by the Design Review Board on January 24, 2013. The decision to approve the project was based on a central courtyard design approach and compliance with the applicable design guidelines. The DRB’s decision was subsequently appealed by several neighbors. The Hearing Examiner conducted an appeal hearing on April 4, 2013 and later affirmed the DRB’s decision. Rick told us that there has been a lot of interest in spaces, both in phase I and the entire project.
Don Winters reported on several projects in the works. Touchstone Development is still planning to go forward with the Park Place redevelopment. They have some leasing interest and hope to start Building A at the southeast corner of the project by the end of the year. CamWest's plans to build 17 units on the Kirkland Professional Center property at 401 State St. appears to be off, at least for now. Contamination was found on the site and there was no agreement on the cleanup.
Meeting Notes - March 18, 2013
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. About 50 people were in attendance, including City Councilmembers Doreen Marchione, Bob Sternoff and Amy Walen. Kirkland Neighborhood Resource Police Officer Audra Weber was also on hand.
City Councilmember Dave Asher was our first guest. The City is about to embark on a two-year effort to review and update its adopted City-wide Comprehensive Plan. The City annually updates portions of the plan, with the last major update in 2005 along with a full Environmental Impact Statement. While the 2013-2014 plan update is required by the Growth Management Act, it is also an opportunity to look ahead to the next twenty years and consider the kind of community Kirkland wants to become. Portions of the plan deal with Transportation, Parks and zoning issues. In addition, the update provides the City a path to incorporate the newly annexed areas into the general elements of the plan. Moss Bay will appoint people to attend update meetings on our behalf.
David Godfrey, Kirkland's Transportation Engineering Manager, updated our group on the the status of plans for the Cross Kirkland Corridor -- a 5.75 mile segment of the old BNSF railway that is now owned by the City of Kirkland. The City's adopted policy is to actively use the corridor in the near future, while developing a master plan for long term use. An interim trail will be constructed by removing the rails and adding gravel. This will create a 10' wide pedestrian and bicycle path for use today, while preserving the rail bed for possible future commuter rail. The bid process is underway and the rails should be removed by Aug 2 at the latest. The interim trail will then be constructed and that should be finished by spring 2014. There is a budget of $3.6 made up of local and Federal funds. In addition to the interim gravel trail, the City is also initiating a Master Plan that will scope out a future regional paved trail and a regional transit pathway on the Corridor. The Plan will be accompanied by a robust public involvement process.
Doug Engle, of Eastside Community Rail, has an alternate vision for the corridor. Doug thinks that the rails should be left in place on Kirkland's segment and that dual use, rail and trail, offers the maximum benefit to the area. His railroad is currently running a freight operation between Snohomish and Woodinville and he would like to run a "wine tasting" train-- to be called "Bounty of Washington" -- with the option of extending it to Kirkland. Along with the cities of Woodinville and Snohomish, Doug's company has formed the Eastside Trailways Alliance with the aim of keeping the rails intact. Doug mentioned that when rails are removed, they have gone back in only 3% of the time. Kathy Cox and Ernest Wilson assisted Doug in his presentation.
Doug Davis of the newly merged Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and Kirkland Downtown Association gave us interesting ways to contribute to the things that make Kirkland special -- sponsoring one of 45 flowerpots for $250, or volunteering for the "Clean Sweep" coming up on April 20, from 9:00 - 12:00. To sponsor a flowerpot, call Bruce Wynn at KDA (425-822-7066). Doug mentioned that the Wednesday Market would be moving back to Marina Park this year. Visit the Chamber web site at www.kirklandchamber.org/
Don Winters updated us on a few projects. Google made the formal announcement on March 12 that they would be expanding across the rail corridor to the "Pace site", doubling the size of their campus and adding up to 1000 jobs. The project should be complete by mid 2015.
The redesigned Lake Street Place project (Hector's) has received Design Review Board approval, but that decision by the DRB has been appealed by residents of Portsmith and Merrill Gardens. The appeal will be heard before the hearing examiner on April 4. Meanwhile, the developer, Stuard McLeod and his architect, Rick Chesmore, is going back to the DRB with a plan to phase the project. The new approval would allow phase I to be built before the rest of the project.
Residential Suites slated for the Crab Cracker site are submitted for design review and will be before the DRB starting April 15. The retail/residential project planned for the White Swan Car Wash site is submitted for design review also, but no date is yet set.
Potala Village is mired in a lawsuit against the city. There is also an appeal by Potala neighbors of the Shoreline Permit issued for the project. That appeal will be heard by the State Shorelines Heaing Board.
Our next meeting will be May 20, 2013 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.
Meeting Notes - January 21, 2013
Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. City Councilmembers Toby Nixon, Bob Sternoff and Dave Asher were in attendance.
Kirkland Police Officer Christa Gilland was our first guest. We hope to make a brief "police report" a regular part of our meetings. Christa, a 13 year Kirkland officer, told us how Kirkland is a safe city, with mostly property and vehicle type of crime. Christa mentioned police can be called on a non-emergency number, 425-577-5656, as well as 911. Society has become more isolated and Christa recommends keeping in touch with neighbors as a good way to stay safe. Christa answered a number of questions from our group.
Dave Tomson and Andy Loos of SRM Development told us about their plans to build a 180,000 sq. ft. project at 500 7th Ave S, known as the "Pace Site", with Google as the prospective tenant. It will be two floors of office over underground parking, and will be a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold building. It will be two buildings joined by covered atrium that will make it appear as single building. A roof deck with green landscaping is planned. Traffic will be kept off of 7th Ave. S. by means of curbing that prevents turning into or out of the project from the west. Also, a driveway will connect the new campus across the rail corridor trail to the existing Google site. A tunnel or bridge may be used to accomplish this. Google wants to improve their portion of the trail with amenities such as a pavement, sport courts and landscaping. There is to be a 100' total buffer along 7th Ave. S. Lighting will be shielded to minimize glare. Dave mentioned that Google wants to be a good neighbor and will be sensitive to neighbor's concerns. The project has passed the traffic concurrency test. A possible new traffic signal at 6th St. S. and Kirkland Ave. may be installed to mitigate traffic. The environmental cleanup at the former chemical plant site is in progress with monitoring wells in place. More work remains, but the site is expected to be "delisted" in the not-too-distant future. SRM hopes to have a lease in place within a few months and the project completed by mid 2015. Dave can be called at 425-629-4437 with any questions.
Our Neighborhood Business segment was next, with PJ Glassey, owner of X Gym at 120 Central Way. X Gym has been in Kirkland since 2004, and with 24 Hour Fitness moving to Totem Lake, will be the oldest fitness center in town. The exercise program, a unique system developed by PJ himself, consists of a 21 minute workout, two times per week. One-on-one personal training, advanced techniques and the latest machines are added perks. They cater to all ages, teen to 80s. An introductory session is free.
Robert Pantley and his daughter, Angela, gave us an update on their proposal to build "residential suites" in downtown Kirkland on the "Crab Cracker" site, located on Central Way. The project will have 11,000 sq. ft. of retail, 61 regular apartments, and 221 residential suites (we described the concept in the minutes of our last meeting). There will be 255 parking stalls, 17 more than required. Only half the tenants are expected to own cars. Retail will include an "urban hardware" store and a coffee shop. There will be a rotating art space that celebrates the living history of Kirkland. The building will be LEED Platinum Plus. An outdoor environment will be created with covered areas, green roofs and SPIN gardens. A pedestrian-friendly feel will be provided to increase foot traffic in the area. Design review should start in two months and Robert expects to break ground in about a year.
Don Winters updated the group on several projects planned for the Moss Bay Neighborhood. Potala Village developer Lobsang Dargey is suing the City over the rezone of his property on Lake St. and 10th Ave. S. He had planned to build 143 units, but would now be limited to 58 under the new rules.
Stuart McLeod received approval from the Design Review Board and is moving forward with the "Hector's project" on Lake St. They will next apply for a permit. The project could be finished in 2016. We plan to have architect Rick Chesmore give us a presentation at our next meeting in March.
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. CamWest project "Kirkland Commons" at State St. and 2nd Ave. S. is under construction. 15 homes are being built, 9 of them separate homes of which 7 are sold and 6 Townhomes of which one is sold.
A project slated for the White Swan car wash property at 324 Central Way now has a zoning permit application under review. The proposed project would have 72 residential units in 3 to 4 floors of market rate apartments over 5000 sq. ft. of retail. Parking is proposed within a below-grade parking structure.
Planning documents, including conceptual drawings, are available here: Part 1 and Part 2
Our next meeting will be