Kirkland neighbors lobby for smaller density on proposed Potala Village project

The Kirkland City Council met with Planning Commission Chair Mike Miller last Tuesday to further discuss density unit limits in the proposed Potala Village location off of Lake Street South.

The planning commission recommended 36 units per acre for the area, while the other similar zones in South Rose Hill and Market Street were recommended not to exceed 24 units per acre.

Council member Amy Walen, along with other council members, questioned why there was a difference in density units.

“I’m interested in the distinction between Moss Bay, Rose Hill and Market Street. The proposal is that they would be residential markets but two are 24 and one is 36?” Walen asked.

Miller explained that South Rose Hill and Market Street had more single family homes surrounding those areas while the Moss Bay site had a lot more general density.

But during the council meeting, David Mann of Support the Ordinances and Plans (STOP) testified against the 36 density unit. STOP was formed as a way for the community to organize against the building of Potala Village.

“We think if you look carefully at the zones, particularly the south lake area and the surrounding properties, you’ll find that the vast majority are single family homes - two-to-one - and we don’t see that justification for using a 36 unit on that property versus 24 units per acre on the other two properties,” Mann said.

The Moss Bay Business Neighborhood (BN) Zone has been a topic of controversy for over a year. When Lobsand Dargey of Dargey Enterprise proposed a 144 apartment unit on a 1.2 acre lot with a view of Lake Washington, neighbors and the surrounding community protested. As a result, the city issued two moratoriums on new building permits for the area. The freezes led Dargey to file a lawsuit in May arguing that the city did not have the jurisdiction to react that way based on one project.

The existing moratorium will expire Nov. 15. The council is expected to make a decision on Oct. 2 on whether it should renew the moratorium or enact an interim zoning ordinance before the Dec. 11 council meeting, when annual Comprehensive Plan amendments are adopted.

The public is invited to give testimony on the issue during the Oct. 2 and Oct. 16 council meetings.


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