Karen Levenson 0

Kirkland Ordinances and Plans apply to Potala Project

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There has been a showing of local residents and property owners at several meetings of the Kirkland City Council and at other forums.

At the same time, there are many property owners impacted by the facts below who reside out of town, travel and work out of town, find themselves committed to holiday weeks and preparation, or otherwise unable to attend the numerous meetings of Kirkland City Council, Kirkland Planning Commission, Houghton Community Council or any/all of the neighborhood meetings.

For that reason, the petition below is being submitted to convey interest, input and participation in the matter listed below.

All Councils, Commissions and Neighborhood groups are asked to consider the signatures below as if the attendees were able to be present on the meeting dates upcoming where the subject matter is Potala Village, Zoning, Comprehensive Plan, Ordinances, Development Regulations, Shoreline Development Permit, SEPA, Building Permit, Interim Moratorium, or any other topics that may be raised regarding any development proposed for the Southeast Corner of Lake St S/Lake Washington Boulevard and 10th Ave S, as designated by parcel numbers 0825059233, 9354900220 and 9354900240, and,

Whereas, in 1977 most of the properties abutting Lake Washington Boulevard and Lake Street South were rezoned downwards, often from a density of 24 units per acre to 12 units per acre, and,

Whereas, those properties already developed to a higher density were allowed to remain but became legally non-conforming with the difficulties and challenges that this designation imposes, and,

Whereas, the city's action of 1977 was unpopular with many who felt they lost their right to develop property at a higher density, and the city and citizens spent two years in a lawsuit, and,

Whereas, Potala Village, a very high density apartment building with a few offices and parking at ground level (and below) is being proposed on a parcel within the downzoned area at a density of approximately 116 residential units per acre (at 10 times the allowed density), and,

Whereas, the property at the southeast corner of Lake St S/Lake Washington Blvd and 10th Ave S is clearly identified, and circled on the Commercial Land Use Map of Kirkland (LU-2) and the text on that map clearly states "10th Ave S./Lake Washington Blvd. Residential Market," and,

Whereas, Residential Market is defined in the Comprehensive Plan as "A residential market is an individual store or very small, mixed-use building/center focused on local pedestrian traffic. Residential scale and design are critical to integrate these uses into the residential area," and,

Whereas, uses allowed in Residential Market - Commercial areas are stipulated, "Uses may include corner grocery stores, small service businesses (social service outlets, daycares), laundromats, and small coffee shops or community gathering places." and,

Whereas, residential or housing is specifically identified as a use in four of the six types of commercial land use, but NOT included as a use in Residential Market - Commercial lands, and,

Whereas, we believe that applying a commonly accepted statuatory rule of construction, the ommission of reference to housing or residential dwellings in two of the four Commercial Use descriptions would indicate that housing is NOT an approved use for those two zones, and

Whereas, if housing were to be provided for in the proposed Potala Project, it is restricted to no more than 12 units per acre as described in text highlighted and given as part of Presubmittal Materials to the Applicant (on file with City of Kirkland) wherein the Mossbay Neighborhood Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan states, " Lands on the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard, south of 7th Avenue South and west of the midblock between First and Second Streets South, are also appropriate for multifamily uses at a density of 12 dwelling units per acre. This designation is consistent with permitted densities to the north and south along Lake Washington Boulevard." and,

Whereas, additional text from Moss Bay Neighborhood Chapter of Comprehensive Plan is listed as PRE09-00072 Material Given to Applicant and that highlighted paragraph states "Most of the land on the east side of Lake Street South appears to be unsuitable for commercial use because of steep slope conditions, as well as problems concerning vehiclar ingress and egress. The southeast quadrant of the 10th Street South and Lake Street intersection, however, is developed with a market which serves as a convenience to the surrounding residences. Limited commercial use of this location, therefore, should be allowed to remain." and,

Whereas, State EPA review provides for proposed projects o be reviewed for consistency with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, and,

Whereas, Ordinances are local laws and Ordinance 3974 confirmed a designation of "Residenial Market" and confirmed uses for subject property, and provided that administrative actions and decisions must be made in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, and,

Whereas, the application for a Substsantial Development Permit states specifically, "Your application will be evaluated on the basis of the information you provide, the criteria listed in the pertinent sections of the Zoning Code, the Kirkland Comprehensive Plan, other City regulatory ordinances, inspection of the property, as well as testimony and evidence presented through public comments." and,

Whereas, as neighbors and visitors to the neighborhood surrounding 10th Ave S/ Lake Ave S we are very concerned about the environmental and safety impacts to the area; things like increases in traffic and auto emissions (particularly from increased traffic backups), increases in noise, sound, and loss of privacy, increases in safety risk to all who cross the streets on foot or use the boulevard for bicycle or pedestrian travel, increases in risk as 108 cars per hour enter and exit the roadway where vehicular ingress and egress is difficult, increases in spillover parking and reduced supply of parking for current visitors and guests, and,

Whereas, we contend that in contrast to the small scale development contemplated by the Comprehensive Plan, the Potala proposal would create 6,000 square feet of office 143 residential units and hundreds of underground parking for cars that will enter or exit Lake St S at a rate of two per minute during peak pm. Hardly a project one would call "very small" or "limited commercial use," and,

Whereas, the city of Kirkland has adopted the provisions of its Comprehensive Plan as substantive SEPA policies and has adopted the policies of SEPA itself which place a strong emphasis on protecting neighborhood aesthetics and welfare, and,

Whereas, here the aesthetics of the neighborhood would be severely impacted by a structure with the height, bulk and scale of he proposed building, and,

Whereas, the proposal would introduce hundreds of new residents into a very small parcel of land that is ill-equipt to handle them, thus degrading the neighborhood environment, and,

Whereas, the proposed Potala project offends not only the City's Comprehensive Plan but also SEPA's policy statements seeking to protect the character and aesthetic qualities of the built and natural environment, and,

Whereas, a failure to properly apply the Comprehensive Plan "10th Ave S/Lake Washington Blvd. Residential Market" conditions would be inconsistent with Ordinance 3974 (local law) and the requirement that decisions be made consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and,

Whereas, we contend that the approval of a development providing 116 units per acre in an area that was disfavorably reduced in dwellings down to 12 per acre would constitute inequitable and preferential treatment to one property owner, and,

Therefore, we, the undersigned, object to development on the southeast corner of Lake St S/Lake Washington Blvd / 10th St South in Kirkland in any manner which is not consistent with the Residential Market - Commercial definition as adopted in the Land Use Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan in 1995, then reaffirmed in 2004 by Ordinance 3974. Further, we object to development that includes residential dwelling units, especially if such density exceeds 12 units per acre as specified for properties along Lake Street S and Lake Washington Boulevard south of 7th Ave S. Further, we object to high intensity uses being allowed to replace the planned low intensity uses for this site.

We ask that all elected and appointed officials, and all city staff, fulfill their duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Kirkland. We ask that they do so by supporting the Ordinances and Plans that are designed for orderly (not piecemeal) growth, particularly the Adopted Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance 3974, in this case.

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