City Council Meeting with the Moss Bay and Lakeview Neighborhood Associations Submitted Questions/Comments (19) Meeting Date: September 21, 2015
Planning: 1. You definitely need to consult/seek input from neighborhoods that will be affected by projects the council approves. The Potala project on Lake Wash. Blvd. was badly bungled—it seems all Kirkland governing groups mishandled this from the start. Clearly, the city council was challenged beyond its ability to comprehend fully the project and its community impact. Keep in mind, you are there to serve the residents of Kirkland, not impose upon them your preferences. Response: Thank you for your comments. Following is an update on the status of the project: The Potala Village project is subject to existing City development regulations and the City is legally obligated to review the project under those regulations. The Design Review Board (DRB) is reviewing the latest Potala Village proposal now. The applicant has been to the DRB twice already and is scheduled to return on October 19. If the applicant is not ready with revised plans on the 19, the meeting will be continued to November 16. The DRB reviews projects for consistency with the design guidelines for pedestrian‐oriented business districts. Once the design review process is complete, the building permit application will be reviewed by staff to be sure it is consistent with all Zoning, Building and other applicable regulations. 2. I have a concern about the possible change in the height of proposed developments in the downtown area of Kirkland; i.e. Park place and the Microsoft bldg. on Kirkland Way. I recently attended the Design Review mtg. on August 17 and was very disheartened by the scope and massive development plan which included buildings of 160' (eight levels plus two levels of screened features on top; buildings looked like college dorms and govt/military buildings). The current code of five levels allows for development in line with current downtown features and maintains the Kirkland feel. In addition, I am worried about the overall Parkplace retail scope and the impact on the waterfront/marina/Lake street/Central Ave. small retail businesses; there is an increase in empty building space already. The Lake St./Central Ave./Park Lane/marina businesses are critical to the Kirkland Community and vision of a vibrant core for the patrons. The Parkplace proposal is simply too big and creates a potential negative impact on existing downtown features. The Council has a responsibility to balance vital business plans for both areas necessary to maintain the development of downtown features and desirability of living here. The developers need to rethink the scope and future economic trends as well as the water features in light of the drought and water usage reductions. Traffic flow is a huge issue and a sensitivity to capacity for downtown residents is paramount when development is approved. My overriding concern is the height of the new developments. I support the current height code of five levels for new developments in the downtown Kirkland neighborhoods and request that the City Council maintain this requirement. Response: The Parkplace development has gone through a long process to evaluate the height, size and possible impacts of the proposal. The increase in height from 5 stories to 8 stories (115’ maximum) was approved and became part of the Zoning Code regulations in 2008. The project which is now before the Design Review Board is less dense than the original project that was approved by the DRB in 2010. The
City Council Meeting with the Moss Bay and Lakeview Neighborhood Associations Submitted Questions/Comments (19) Meeting Date: September 21, 2015
DRB reviews projects for consistency with the design guidelines for the area where the project is located. In the case of Parkplace, there is a special Master Plan and also Design Guidelines for the site. There has also been an environmental Impact Statement, Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Addendum to the Environmental Impact Statement completed to evaluate the impacts (including traffic impacts) of this project. A proposed change in the regulations pertaining to the MRM (“Microsoft Building”) proposal will be considered by the City Council at a study session on October 6. The current code allows 5 stories and up to 67’. The applicant is asking that this be changed to 5 stories of residential over ground floor retail (6 stories total) while maintaining the 67’ height limit. The Planning Commission is also recommending that five stories of office over ground floor retail be allowed (6 stories total) and that the height limit for office over retail be 80’. The proposed changes would only be allowed if specific public amenities are provided. The environmental impacts of the MRM project have been analyzed in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The zoning and master plan for Parkplace was completed in 2008 and included extensive public involvement. The height and uses were approved at that time, with a recent amendment to allow residential. The project is now with the Design Review Board that reviews the proposed project against adopted design standards. You can provide comments to the Design Review Board. 3. A person shall have the right to seek to preserve and restore views which existed at any time since he or she purchased or occupied a property, when such views are from the primary living or entertainment areas of his/her residence and have subsequently been unreasonably obstructed by the growth of trees. Methods of relief that may be granted include pruning, thinning, windowing, topping, or removal of the tree. The tree owner needs to cooperate with the person whose views are being obstructed. A process needs to be established in the Kirkland Municipal code to address this issue. Please visit The City of Medina Municipal Code chapter 18.16 which has the process clearly laid out. Thanks! Response: The City Council has discussed this issue before and has decided not to try to regulate private view protection due the complications of doing so and potential conflicts with efforts to preserve the City’s tree canopy. The City has chosen to protect certain public views, for example along the Lake Washington shoreline south of the downtown where developers are required to keep 30% of the property width maintained as a view corridor between Lake Washington Boulevard the lake. 4. Design Review Board: The Walk condo/houses don't conform to the style and charm of the neighborhood. Did they have to pass a design review? And if so, why were they allowed? What can be done in the future? Response: The Walk project (7th Avenue South west of Google & north of Lakeview Elementary) is not located in an area subject to design review. Project review by the City is based on existing codes such as height, setbacks, lot coverage, etc. The City’s current design review program is limited to a number of mixed‐use areas in Kirkland, such as Totem Lake, Downtown, Juanita, and the 85th Street Corridor.
5. What is the schedule for Parkplace and what is happening with tenants? Response: The Parkplace project is in the midst of the Design Review Board’s review. It is expected that the Design Review Board process will be complete by the end of the year. The existing retail tenants, except for the QFC, are beginning to move to new locations outside of Parkplace. QFC will remain until its new store in Phase One of the redevelopment is completed. It is expected that the other tenants will be gone by the beginning of the year, so that demolition and construction can begin. 6. Please provide an update on the antique mall site, what is planned, and when will it be redeveloped. Response: A Design Review Board application for the site is currently being reviewed by the City. The project proposal is for a five story mixed use structure with ground floor retail and residential units above. The Design Review Board reviewed the project’s design at their September 8 Meeting and the applicant is scheduled to return to the Board at their October 19 meeting. The September 8 DRB Packet can be reviewed here: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/planning/Boards_and_Commissions/DRB_Meeting_Information.htm 7. I first raised the issue of HEDGES AS FENCES at the Council meeting on May 4, 2010. We have spoken on the phone a couple of times when you first joined the Council and I hope you remember me. The former Mayor, Mrs. J. McBride, subsequently came to my house and said she was sure something could be done. Nothing has been done. The 140 + Leyland Cypress trees that were planted across three properties between 3rd St. and State St. were planted to circumnavigate the City of Kirkland's fence height restrictions. Instead of building a fence, one was planted that can GROW to a height of 65 ft. and beyond. These trees have no place in an urban landscape. The ones in question have robbed my neighbors and me of our precious lake, mountains and sunset views, and subsequently have affected our property values. Those views and values were intrinsic in the desire to purchase here in the first place. I ask that you and the Council consider adding a statute to the City ordinances that would protect homeowners such as myself from this egregious method of obtaining privacy at someone else's expense. Response: You are correct that a hedge is not subject to the same height limits as a fence. If the City Council wished to institute a hedge height limit, it would also need to amend the zoning code and include a clear definition of what constitutes a hedge to allow for uniform enforcement. As noted in an earlier question, the City Council has decided not to try to regulate private view protection due the complications of doing so. 8. How does the development review process work and how is public input used? Response: There are a number of different review process established in the zoning code. For many buildings, the only requirement is to obtain a building permit. The permit application is reviewed by City staff for compliance with all applicable regulations, including compliance with zoning regulations, building codes and public works standards. Although public comments may be submitted, public notice is not provided and the role of the staff review is to assure that the applications meet adopted development regulations. Some types of applications, for example the subdivision of land into multiple lots, require approval by the Planning Director or a Hearing Examiner, with a formal opportunity for public comment. Although there is some discretion with these types of applications, the main focus is still to determine whether the application complies with adopted regulations. Within many of the City’s business districts, developments above a specific size threshold require review and approval by the City’s Design Review Board (DRB), a group of volunteer design professionals
appointed by the City Council. The DRB holds public hearings to receive public input. The DRB is charged with determining whether an application is consistent with design guidelines adopted by the City Council. The design guidelines do not dictate a preferred style of architecture, but generally address the overall massing of a building within the maximum height and minimum setbacks prescribed by the zoning. A few types of applications require approval by the City Council, most significantly Planned Unit Developments (PUD) which are proposals to build in a way that doesn’t strictly comply with the normal development standards, but which purports to provide superior public benefits. A public hearing is held by the Hearing Director and the Examiner prepares a recommendation to the City Council. If you’d like further information about the different types of development review procedures, please contact Planning and Building Director Eric Shields at firstname.lastname@example.org. 9. The parking study had poor methodology, how does the City oversee consultant’s work? Response: The parking study was performed using a rigorous methodology to establish the actual parking demand from individual developments during peak parking periods. The work of our consultants was overseen by a City staff member assigned to the project. If you have further questions about the study please contact Planning Supervisor Jon Regala at email@example.com. 10. Is the City considering a renaming or rebranding of the downtown Kirkland area? Response: A new name was suggested by a citizen and was considered by the Planning Commission, but the Commission did not express an interest in pursuing the idea.
Public Works: 11. When can we expect to see updates to residential sidewalks? (There have been numerous updates to main arteries in Moss Bay.) I live on a street with lots of walking traffic yet only a few homes actually have sidewalks. Many residents with no sidewalks park perpendicular to their homes making dodging vehicles a challenge. In addition, there are a couple of areas of sidewalk that have lifted due to tree roots. I have more than once tripped on them. Much of the walking traffic is by Google employees and once the new building is open, walking traffic will likely increase. Someone had said that sidewalks are only installed in new developments. Then please explain to me why 2+ new homes on my street have no sidewalks. I am unable to make the meeting and would appreciate receiving an email response. Response: Thank you for your questions. The Public Works Department has reviewed your questions and can offer the following: When can we expect to see updates to residential sidewalks? Most residential streets without sidewalks are improved as new development occurs. The City does install some sidewalks on residential streets in areas that are school walk routes or that connect major pedestrian networks. For specific details in your area, please contact Rosalie Wessels in the Public Works Department at 425‐587‐3803. Ms. Wessels can tell you if there are plans to install sidewalks in your area in the near future, either through current development activity or planned work by the City. What can you do if you notice a sidewalk with a tripping hazard? Please contact Public Works Maintenance and Operations at 425‐587‐3900 and ask that staff inspect the sidewalk with tripping hazard. Also, please be aware your input is particularly helpful at this time, because the Public Works Department is in the process of doing a comprehensive inventory of all City sidewalks, identifying maintenance needs and priorities.
Why is there no sidewalk in front of some new houses that were built in my neighborhood? There are portions of the Moss Bay Neighborhood that have code adopted standards requiring sidewalk on only one side of the street (due to the narrow widths of the existing public rights‐of‐way). If you can contact Rosalie Wessels of the Public Works Department (425‐587‐3900) and let her know which houses do not have sidewalks, Ms. Wessels can research the address and let you know why the homes do not have sidewalks. 12. During rush hour more and more people are zipping up NE 64th St and down 103rd Ave NE in order to essentially cut in line at NE 68th St and 103rd Ave light. The main problem is this is a residential neighborhood with a lot of kids around. The drivers don’t have to stop since there are no Stop signs, and only the traffic circle at NE 67th and 103rd. The traffic circle was installed to be a ‘calming device’ to slow drivers down, but the majority of the cut through drivers are zipping down 103rd at 40+ MPH and many actually seem to speed up through the traffic circle. Many of these drivers don’t even check to see if there is any East West traffic entering the circle because they seem to assume the North South traffic has the right of way and the other drivers will be the ones yielding. Is it possible to replace the Yield signs for the North/South traffic with Stop signs? Response: Public Works staff will evaluate this request. Typically, there is no traffic control at a traffic circle; traffic entering the circle is required to yield to vehicles that are already in the circle. At some locations, however, we’ve left the yield or stop signs that were present before the circles were installed. For more information, contact Traffic Control Coordinator Kathy Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425‐587‐3870). 13. What is happening with parking especially along Central and Lake WA Blvd? Response: Right now there are no changes contemplated for parking along Central Way or Lake Washington Boulevard. Other parking changes have been made, such as new signing to encourage parking at City Hall, opening Lake Avenue West to parking for downtown employees, expanding pay parking in the Lake and Central lot, adding time limits to Market Street between Central Way and 6th Avenue and improving the library garage with cleaning, painting and improved security. Public Works staff is continuing to investigate the possibilities of new supply both at the Lake and Central lot and on the property to the South of City Hall. For more information, contact Stephen Padua at email@example.com or (425‐587‐3871). 14. Please provide an update on stairs at Houghton trestle. Response: The concrete steps and bicycle runnel will be located on the southeastern corner of the NE 68th Street and Cross Kirkland Corridor bridge/crossing. The stair connection was the top priority funded by the Neighborhood Safety Program in June of 2015. The project is currently in design and is anticipated to be complete late this year (or early 2016). For more information, contact Kari Page, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, KPage@kirklandwa.gov or call 425‐587‐3011. 15. Safety on 5th Place: Now that Google finished paving, pedestrians are walking in the street. What can be done for pedestrian and bike safety, such as signs or methods of forcing them into sidewalks or bike lanes? Once the 800 Google employees occupy the new building, can the city do a site review along 7th, 6th and 5th Place down to State Street to assess traffic and safety and make adjustments if needed. Also, the sign “Don't park on the pavement” should be removed! Response: Public Works staff would be happy to do a review of traffic safety once the Google project is complete and additional employees are in place. Staff was unable to find the “Don’t park on the pavement” sign and is checking with the requestor to see if it has been removed. For more information, contact Iris Cabrera at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425‐587‐3866).
16. Railroad Ave and Kirkland Way Intersection: the request to address pedestrian/car safety was not selected for the Neighborhood Safety Program grant and was shot down as a CIP project. The safety issues still need to be addressed. Response: One of the changes to the proposed CIP is additional funding for expanded safety programs. This provides flexible funding that can be used to make safety improvements, and the Railroad Ave/Kirkland Way intersection seems like a good candidate. A list of projects has not yet been identified. We know that this is high on the list for the neighborhood and also for KAN. For more information please contact David Godfrey at email@example.com or (425‐587‐3865).
The following questions were asked at the meeting and needed additional clarification from staff: 1. When will the Parking study be complete? Response: The Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods has organized a task force that is first looking at the causes and effects of spillover parking in Kirkland neighborhoods. They recently completed a survey gathering data observed by Kirkland residents from all neighborhoods. They expect the next steps will be to use the data gathered to look for solutions to recommend to the City for possible implementation. The timeline is not certain and they will be discussing this further at their upcoming meeting in mid‐November. This is not a City administered study; however, staff anticipates eventually receiving policy recommendations from KAN for further study by City staff. For more information about parking, in general, contact David Godfrey, Transportation Manager at 425‐ 587‐3865 or email DGodfrey@kirklandwa.gov. 2. How long is a building permit good? Response: Commercial and multi‐family building permits are good for three years, single‐family building permits are good for two years, trade permits (electrical, plumbing and mechanical) associated with a building permit are good for the length of the building permit. Standalone trade permits are good for one year. We do have penalties for owners that build a single‐family house (or addition) and do not get the outside finished within two years. This is to minimize the impacts of construction to the neighbors. 3. Why was Home Grown allowed to have so much outdoor seating? Response: As part of the Design Review of the Bank of America project, it was anticipated that the tenant would have outdoor seating. The seating area is located on private property. Staff has measured the distance between the railing and curb and determined that the area meets the minimum distance for walking.