Below is a list of annotated documents from City of Kirkland files related to BN zones and pertinent to the Potala Project. These provide a history of how unintended changes evolved in density designations due to complex and conflicting documents, policies, maps, codes, amendments and ordinances. The list is in chronological order, so for the most recent developments, scroll down. The most recent breaking news is posted on the home page.
STOP has identified the problem, and it’s a real mess. Now is the time for Kirkland Planners and City Council to fix this before these unintended consequences destroy Kirkland’s landmark waterfront boulevard.
Early History of property:
1977 Downzone & 1979 Legal Settlement with Neighbors
1992 Residential Market Designation
1995 Comprehensive Plan & Ordinance 3481
1997 & 2001 Failure to Implement Zoning – Ordinances 3606 & 3808
2004 Comprehensive Plan & Ordinance 3974
2009 Documents showing that the developer was advised of residential density limits
2010 Developer’s “Substantial Development Permit Application” appears incomplete
2010 Commercial Areas & Residential Market Implementation – Ordinance 4279
2010 Growth Management Act & Shorelines Management Act Requirements – Ordinance 4279
2011 Dec Unintentional Zoning Increase to Unlimited
(“Kirkland Views” has published several well-written articles. See also this February 2, 2012, “Letter to the Editor“.
November 14, 2012: Mediation concluded after at least 5 sessions and more than 30 hours of negotiation. Citizens, City and developer unable to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the developer’s lawsuit.
November 10, 2012: Citizen group granted “intervenor” status by King County Superior Court. This means that any legal issues raised by the citizens opposed to the Potala development must be included in any settlement discussions regarding the developer’s lawsuit against the City of Kirkland. Click here to view petition.
October 16, 2012: Council votes to extend BN zoning moratorium until end of 2012.
October 8: Mediation talks begin. Additional meetings with two professional mediators, the City and citizens STOP group on October 15 and 16.
October 2, 7:30 PM: Council discusses PC recommendations for zoning changes. “Straw poll” indicates support for uniform density on all Residential Market areas of 36 units per acre. Click here to view the PC letter to the Council.
September 18, 2012: City Council received the Planning Commission recommendation of 36 units per acre plus design review (but with a zero front setback) for the Potala property. Council found it odd that the similar property on Market Street and Bridle Trails were given a density cap of 24 units per acre, and the BNA zone 18 units per acre. PC Chair Mike Miller, in attempting to explain the difference, called it “simply a gut feeling.” The latter language was promptly cleaned by the Planning Director for public consumption. Two attorneys representing STOP spoke to the Council. The Kirkland Reporter had several letters on the Potala issue in September. Check them out. Letter 1 Letter 2 Letter 3
August, 2012: Planning Commission completes the review of the BN Zones – as requested by the City Council – and recommends both a density cap of 36 units per acre and “Design Review.“ While an improvement, the density remains out of sync with the character of the rest of the neighborhood and the intention of the Comprehensive Plan. Interestingly, the Market Street Corridor was capped at 24 units per acre, with no pending request or citizen input. STOP believes a similar cap should be applied to the BN zones, of which Potala is one.
August 14, 2012: Hearing on EIS held at City Hall. Buckets of input given to planners requesting major revisions to Draft before publishing final EIS. Example: A “comparable property” was listed as having a density of 177 units per acre. County tax records show that it has only 18 units per acre and is not comparable because it is over water.
July 12, 2012: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was published July 12, 2012. Since it is long, the section of greatest value is Section 3.3 “Aesthetics.” There is almost nothing in the EIS that addresses the major problem with the Potala project: Residential density of 10 times the surrounding neighborhood. The section most full of errors is Section 3.1 on “Land Use.” Click the link to view this section with many of the errors already annotated by your Leadership Team. Also, see this recalculation of the existing neighborhood residential densities, including a telling graph. Potala’s 116 units per acre is nearly 3 times higher than any existing parcel and 10 times higher than the Comprehensive Plan specifies.
June 28, 2012: Planning Commission Hearing on BN Zones. Dozens of citizens spoke eloquently on every reason why unlimited residential density on BN zones is wrong. The focus again was on scale, intensity of use and density. Pockets of density destroy neighborhoods. This project is completely out of character with it surroundings and does not “fit where it sits.” No action taken.
May 31, 2012: Planning Commission considered and rejected the Council’s suggestion to consider changing the Land Use from Residential Market to Neighborhood Center. They then, after a long and surprisingly well-reasoned if slightly divided discussion, voted to apply a density cap. The final density cap has not yet been decided, but the range is 12-48 units per acre.
May 15, 2012: In a bizarre meeting, the City Council recommended that the Planning Commission apply a “density cap” to the property, but also voted 4-3 to consider up-zoning the land use from Residential Market to Neighborhood Center. No specific density limit was proposed. If you want to read the actual memo from the Planning Director leading to these decisions, click here.
May 8, 2012: The “scope” of the EIS was presented at a citizens’ meeting at City Hall. Inova is the company doing the EIS. The only options available are the original 143 units and 316 parking spaces, or “no action.” However, mitigating steps can be presented as part of the EIS. Citizens did a great job of presenting a wide range of concerns.
May 1, 2012: City Council votes 7-0 to extend the moratorium on development of BN zoned property. They expect the Planning Commission to continue its work and present a proposal by August.
April 3, 2012: City Council and Planning Commission met jointly to “check in” and see if the PC is on the same track as the Council is expecting. There appeared to be concurrence that the Comp Plan is fine as is, and that the zoning code does not reflect the language and intent of the Comp Plan. No proposal was presented and no vote taken.
March 8, 2012: Further modifications to the zoning chart were made by the Planning Commission, but scale and density remain an issue for neighbors.
February 23, 2012: After agreeing that the Comp Plan is appropriate and needs no changes, the Planning Commission refused to establish a maximum residential density on BN zoned property. A petition campaign undertaken by citizens garnered over 500 signatures asking for a residential density cap on BN zoned property.
PETITION: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO SIGN. A citizen petition requesting that residential density be capped on BN zoned property gathered over 500 signatures. If you have not yet signed the petition, click here to sign. Surprisingly, unlimited residential density is allowed on any commercial zoned property in Kirkland, potentially affecting every neighborhood.
February 9, 2012: Planning Commission determined that the Comprehensive Plan satisfactorily states the City’s vision for this property (note that the Zoning Code is not concurrent with the Comp Plan.)
November, 2011: City Council passed a moratorium to halt further development of BN zoned parcels, and referred the matter to the Planning Commission.
Description and History of the 3 Individual Potala Village Project Parcels:
The Potala Village property consists to 3 parcels we will call A, B, and C. Changes have been made to the Land Use and Zoning of each parcel individually over the years. The Timeline also includes information about the project as a whole:
Here is a brief history of the Potala Village property:
Potala Village (overall project, 2007-present)
2010: A proposal for a 183 unit apartment development was submitted by Dargey Enterprises
2011: Project reduced to 143 units with 316 car 2-story underground parking garage, to comply with setback and height restrictions.
Parcel A (9354900240, 21 – 10th Avenue South), historically a single family home
199?: Zoning changed from RM 3.6 to BN, but no one can determine why, how, or at whose request.
Oct, 2005: Sold to Dr. David Myaskovsky by Phyllis A. Nelson and Paula Louise Nelson
Jan, 2011: Parcel (together with Parcel B) sold by Dr. David Myaskovsky to Potala Village LLC
Parcel B (9354900220, 1006 Lake Street South), location of Michael’s Dry Cleaning and Bob’s Burgers
1959: Building housing Bob’s Burgers constructed
1999: Transferred by Gregory M. & Mary Kay Lambert to Lambert Living Trust by Quit Claim Deed.
Aug, 2006: Sold by Lambert Living Trust, Seattle, to Dr. David Myaskovsky (shown as then residing at this address). Property appears to be listed as “4″ (Commercial) under “Abstract Use Category.”
2008: Listed as a foreclosure sale by Default Resolution Network, Seattle, with BN Zoning.
Nov,2010: Assessor’s Office lists property as “Commercial” (“C”) with “Highest and Best Use” of “Retail/Wholesale.”
Jan, 2011: Parcel (together with Parcel A) sold by Dr. David Myaskovsky to Potala Village LLC
Parcel C (0825059233, 6700 Lake Washington Boulevard), known until recently as the “Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lot”
Pre-2002: Multiple parties attempt to purchase property from owner, Luella O’Connor
2002: Property deeded from Luella O’Connor to O’Connor LLC
2005: Property deeded from O’Connor LLC back to Luella O’Connor
2010/2011: Dargey Enterprises obtains 99 year lease on property from Luella O’Connor