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Letter: Parking Spaces a Problem with Potala Village

Karen Levenson with Stop Potala weighs in on the matter of parking spaces.

So this is the Shorelines permit and not the building permit. The Planning director did a good job making sure the developer knows he must still meet all zoning code requirements etc.... BUT there is much that is concerning about what could still happen since 143 units were approved AND EVEN MORE CONCERN ... Less parking will be required!!!

The Planning Director did a very good job with a couple things.  First he made sure to let the developer know that this is only a decision on the Shoreline Permit which is an "overlay" on top of all zoning and other Kirkland policies which will still have to be met when a building permit is submitted.

Also, at first glance it appears that the concern about contaminated soils may be pretty well addressed as the remediation and oversight seems mandatory.  The concern here is that the city picks out who does the oversight and the neighbors have previously been concerned because those chosen for oversight of things were part of an "inner-circle" and the oversight seemed more like a rubber stamp.  Let's hope this time we have someone quite objective!!

BUT FEWER PARKING STALLS??  And NO requirement that stalls cannot be rented to unit occupants as a separate charge? This is always a benefit to a developer since providing parking is expensive.  With tiny "budget" apartments many are likely to forgo paying for parking and we will end up with 143 or 286 additional cars parked on Lake Washington Boulevard!!! No other unit in the area is allowed to have as few parking spaces per unit as Potala.  It gets a HUGE break in parking and these cars will most likely consume all the street parking.  PARKING was a major part of public comment on the Shorelines Permit.  Potala cars will make it nearly impossible for current residents to have guests stop by and use street parking... And much fewer visitors to Kirkland who currently park near the site and walk (or jog) the boulevard and then enjoy a latte, or our  shops, or our restaurants.  VISITORS will just have no where to park so will likely go to some other city.

As far as the INCOMPLETE application.

There are sentences that were incomplete, signatures on the "hold harmless agreement" missing and it seems the planning director may have mis-read the state requirement for information about information that the state requires "at a MINIMUM."

WAC 173-27-180 states that at a MINIMUM the application MUST INCLUDE

     "(1) The name, address and phone number of the applicant. The applicant should be the owner of the property or the primary proponent of the project and not the representative of the owner or primary proponent."

AND

     "(3) The name, address and phone number of the property owner, if other than the applicant."

There were many other omissions in the submitted application, but these are pretty obvious in their absence.

There is also the question of the Shorelines designation that was changed from Urban Residential to Urban Mixed when the city only noticed that they were talking about changes to "docks, piers, vegetation and protection for endangered salmonoids and Bull Trout."  Since the city didn't provide the GMA Required "Meaningful Notice" and since this was done as a change to only the developers parcels.... SPOT ZONE without notice?

We need more time with review and attorney review to understand everything about where this approval leaves us, but clearly we are unhappy with an approval for 143 and the shoreline changes that were made covertly.  Parking decisions are clearly going to be harmful and we would have loved to see more detailed "conditions for approval" based on the EIS at this point rather than waiting to impose them later.  We fear we will otherwise hear again the swan song of the developer "no one ever told me I couldn't."

The neighbors and numerous citizens from all over the city have come together opposing things like 1)the failure of the staff to implement the approved Comp Plan with its implementation conditions for the zoning to reflect smaller lower intensity in BN zones (all of them), 2) the misinterpretations given to some of the rules passed by the state and the city, etc.   We have enjoyed getting to know each other at city hall and may soon be working on items for the Shorelines Hearings Board.

Keep checking in... We will let you know more once we have reviewed farther.  You may sign up for email alerts at www.stoppotala.com.  On the subject of funding the next steps to preserve the Kirkland envisioned and approved by our GMA Planning process, we will let you know when and if funds are needed. Please no checks to attorneys right now, our coffers are full (thanks to numerous neighbors and non- neighbor Kirklanders. We don't want a big task of refunding extra cash.  We will keep you advised once we have reviewed things more.

--Karen Levenson

HWally January 21, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Wow. Genius. Traffic on Lakeview and State Street is already terrible during the evening rush hour. Cramming in 143 units into that area is nuts. Is Kirkland desperate for more revenue because they are losing so many businesses. Business who are leaving/have left the downtown area because of lack of parking for patrons?
Recall 4 KCC January 22, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Kirkland = Park all cars on the street
Recall 4 KCC January 22, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Residential cars on street = Nowhere for shoppers to park
Recall 4 KCC January 22, 2013 at 03:40 PM
A residential cars on street = Nowhere for Diners to park

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