Potala Village Project Neighbors Say Proposed Density Limits Not Enough

The Kirkland Planning Commission is recommending a 36-unit per acre limit in the area of the controversial proposed 1.2-acre apartment project - originally planned for 143 units. But neighbors urged the City Council to consider even tighter limits.


The Kirkland Planning Commission recommended to the City Council Tuesday that the zoning code in the area of the controversial 1.2-acre Potala Village apartment project, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"lake-street-residents-angrily-question-proposed-apartment-complex"} --> on upscale Lake Street be amended to limit residential density to no more than 36 units per acre.

That would sharply limit the number of units that could be built on the site, originally proposed by the developers as a 144-unit complex, if the City Council adopts the recommendation and applies it to the Potala Village project.

But the 36-unit per acre recommendation didn’t seem to go over well with neighbors of the project, who have battled Potala Village vigorously as inconsistent with the scenic lakeshore neighborhood’s character and likely to worsen traffic and lower property values.

After the Planning Commission chairman briefed the council on recommended zoning code amendments at its Tuesday study session, an attorney for the group STOP Potala and two of its members spoke during the open testimony session of the council meeting. All three thanked the council for asking the Planning Commission to take up the issue of the zoning designation -- “BN” for neighborhood business -- but then urged it lower the density limit at the project site to 24 units per acre, as the commission is recommending for two other areas zoned BN.

“Compatibility, that’s our problem,” said Tom Grimm, a Lake Street resident. “Please consider the character of this city. Follow the vision of your Comprehensive Plan. Why are you dumping the history of all the planning for the neighborhood and what is there now?”

The council asked the Planning Commission to consider changes to the BN designation in its regular review of zoning codes after the developer, Lobsang Dargey of Dargey Enterprise, last year filed for a shoreline permit, triggering an outcry from the neighbors. , prompting


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