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.