The Issue

Location of Potala Village

Potala Village is a proposed development of 143 tiny efficiency apartments on 1.2 acres on Lake Street in Kirkland at 10th Avenue South, the site of the current Michael’s Dry Cleaners.

That means that there will be 116 dwelling units per acre of land. Surrounding property is zoned at 5-12 dwelling units per acre. There will be underground parking for 316 cars. We have produced an Aerial View of Neighboring Residential Density This shows how completely out of scale the Potala project would be.

Due to multiple inconsistencies between the Kirkland Zoning Code and Kirkland Comprehensive Plan, and a single word in the Kirkland Zoning Code (“None,” in the box for “Minimum Lot Size”), a developer prevailed on the Planning Department staff initially to allow this project, which according to Kirkland’s Ordinances and Plans, is inconsistent with the City’s own intentions for this property.

In 1977, all parcels between 7th Avenue S and NE 63rd Street on the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard were down-zoned from 24 to 12 (or less) dwelling units per acre. A 1979 legal settlement with neighbors confirmed this, costing neighbors significant losses in land values.

The property was extensively studied and planned between 1991 and 1995, with over 145 hearings by the Growth Management Committee, Planning Commission and City Council. Neighbors were reassured about the size and scale of development at that time. Vehicular ingress and egress, and compatibility with the neighborhood are two reasons cited for the decisions. A limitation on commercial use was approved by Ordinance in 1995, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Neighbors want the property developed according to existing ordinances and plans, and not according to a single word oversight in a single zoning table. The Kirkland Planning Commission and City Council agree that the Comprehensive Plan appropriately states the City’s vision for this property, and that the Zoning Code needs modification. Efforts to apply those modifications have been rebuffed by the developer. We urgently need your help!)

Over 500 citizens and at least 9 homeowners associations asked that that the City of Kirkland correct these oversights and mandate appropriate density development on this and other such properties. This was done, and the developer filed a lawsuit (which the City feels strongly it will win on appeal.)

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