Don Winters called the meeting to order.
Tracy Dunlap, Kirkland's Director of Finance, was our first guest. Tracy explained Kirkland's budget restraints that have resulted from the economic downturn, especially the decline in sales tax revenue. A number of cutbacks will be necessary in many areas unless more money can be found. The city will increase utility taxes on water, sewer and solid waste utilities by 3% in 2009. A private utility tax increase on electricity, telephone and cable of 1.5% is being proposed and will be on the ballot in November. There is a lot more information on the City's Budget Page.
Ellen Miller-Wolfe, Kirkland's Economic Development Director, explained the new "Kirkland First" local buying program. Kirklandfirst.org is a web site where you can find the product or service you need locally. Kirkland businesses are listed in a directory where you can easily find what is available in our town. The objective is to keep businesses in Kirkland and keep our dollars in town where they count.
Ellen also gave us a brief rundown of development projects in town:
The owners of the Totem Lake Malls is looking to sell the property. As a fallback option they are fixing up the stores and looking to lease them short-term.
Park Place is undergoing the design review process. The Design Review Board web page is a good place to follow the progress of this large development.
Google has moved into two of the buildings on their new campus on 6th St. S. and is planning to sublease the third.
The McLeod property will not be developed with the large 5 story office building as proposed but instead will undergo a three phase remodel. The existing Waterfront Market is being remodeled and with some additional space. Prep work has started. The Design Review Board will consider a two story expansion on the south and east of the Hector's building during their meeting on Oct 5. Hector's will be retained with the addition of an open roof deck while World Wraps and the small building east of Hector's would be demolished.
The Library expansion is ahead of schedule and should reopen in December.
Doreen Marchione, a Moss Bay resident and regular at our meetings, introduced herself. Doreen is running for City Council. She mentioned that there will be several candidate forums.
Sept 28 MonLakeview Neighborhood Assoc - Houghton Fire Station - 7:00 PM
Oct 5 MonRotary / Chamber of Commerce Joint Candidate Forum - Woodmark Hotel Marina Room - 6:15 PM Reservations are required.
Oct 12 Mon.Holy Spirit Lutheran Candidate Forum - Holy Spirit Lutheran Church 10021 NE 124th St. - 7:00 PM
Shana Allen announced that the PACE Race, a 5k and 10k run/walk to benefit Prostate Cancer, will be held in Kirkland's Marina park on Oct 25. Volunteers are needed. For more information, check out their web site: http://www.paceracewa.org
Juanita resident Dave Martine mentioned that the King County Council is considering closing 5 out of 8 County parks in the city of Kirkland's Proposed Annexation Area. Dave hopes that Moss Bay residents will get involved in the effort to protect these parks. Contacting County officials would be one way of helping.
Ken Dueker, from the Parking Advisory Board (PAB), spoke about that group's efforts:
1. Kirkland will temporarily lose 40 on-street parking spaces on Park Lane between Main and Third (where the Farmer's Market used to be held) for about three years during reconstruction of the transit center and the Metro sewer pump station. To replace these, the City is negotiating to lease the parking lot at the Antique Mall and operate it as a public parking lot. The cost will be $1 per hour from 9 AM to 9 PM.
2. The PAB is asking for volunteers to serve on a stakeholders committee to prepare a contingency finance plan to incorporate an extra floor of public parking into one or more new developments. The last stakeholder committee decided not to recommend a new stand-alone parking structure, but to partner with developers and build smaller amounts of parking in more locations. The City needs to have its financial plan ready when developers are ready. The Parking Solver 101 flyer has info on how to get involved.
3. ParkSmart is a program that prohibits employees from parking in downtown public parking spaces and encourages them to park in the Library garage. It was designed by downtown merchants to make parking available for customers and it is administered by the City. The PAB will work with merchants to renew their ownership and support of the program to make it more effective.
4. The PAB is preparing a recommendation to the Planning Commission to reduce the parking requirements under zoning in downtown to make redevelopment more feasible. The existing parking requirements are designed for suburban developments that are strictly auto oriented and are single use in character. Although reducing parking requirements seems counterproductive, well managed and shared parking requires less parking.
Bea Nahon, Moss Bay's new representative to the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods (KAN) introduced herself and briefly updated us on KAN news. She replaces Glenn Peterson, who has been our rep for several years. Bea mentioned that the Norkirk Neighborhood is holding a candidate forum on Oct 7 at Heritage Hall.
Roger Iwata of Sound Transit was sick and Kari Page, Kirkland's Neighborhood Services Coordinator, did a great job of substituting for him. Kari presented some interesting info on the new Third Street Transit Center. Large display boards with various views of the new center and a question and answer period updated us on the project. Construction of the $13.3 million project will start in October and take about a year. More info on Sound Transit's Kirkland Transit Center page.
Our next meeting will be Nov 16, 2009 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.