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Letter: Kirkland Considering Change in Parking Requirements for Developers

Reader urges residents to comment on city plan that would ease requirements for developers on providing parking.

 

Dear Editor,

Regarding funding for public parking - write the city immediately: citycouncil@kirklandwa.gov

Approximately two years ago the Kirkland Comprehensive Plan was modified to incentivize residential development downtown by allowing a reduction in parking stalls.  There were years of study by the Parking Advisory Board, then approval by Kirkland's Planning Commission and then it became law when voted in by Ordinance by the City Council.

A. Background: Parking is costly (approximately $35,000 per space).  As an incentive, Kirkland reduced the requirement of 1.7 stalls per unit to 1 stall per unit - $25,000 savings per unit !!!!

B.  Opportunity for more public parking -  The law now required just 1 stall per unit (Multifamily, Multiuse, Assisted Living, Hotels). If all the stalls weren't needed, a developer had two options to fulfill the obligation  1) provide public parking elsewhere downtown, or 2) contribute to a fund, $20,000 per stall. The city then supplies public parking (aka fee-in-lieu).

C.  ATTENTION: Recently, new SRO development was introduced as a zoning change! On top of the prior deal sweetener, now parking requirement would go from 1.7 to 0.5 space per unit and REMOVE FEE-IN-LIEU.  A development of 100 units would be relieved of $1,000,000 towards public parking!!!

D.  Doesn't this just shift the responsibility and put it on the shoulders of taxpayers?  Write and tell the council not to pass this.

P.S.  The number of SRO units that will be proposed for the Crab Cracker property is unknown at this time (more?, less?). 100 was chosen for ease of providing an example. as with other commercial properties there is NO DENSITY LIMIT on these parcels.

-Karen Levenson, Kirkland

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