Kirkland Council approves zoning to allow for affordable residential suites development
By RAECHEL DAWSON
Kirkland Reporter Reporter
October 21, 2012 · Updated 1:05 PM
The Kirkland City Council voted 6-1 on Oct. 16 to go forth with zoning amendments to the Central Business District and the Totem Lake Business District, which have unlimited density, to allow for the development of residential suites.
Single residential housing or residential suites are described as affordable 150-to 350-square-foot units that will have a small bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink, a mini bar with a microwave, a small refrigerator and a bed, but share a common area with a kitchen and dining table.
Prices are expected to be as low as $600 a month.
The zoning amendments will likely take affect within the next couple of weeks.
The council discussed the issue of parking, traffic and green building during the Oct. 16 meeting. The Planning Commission recommended to the council that green building not be a requirement due to its high cost, which would take away from its main perk of affordability, but many members were in favor of the green incentive.
Others had issue with parking for the location in the Central Business District.
Councilman Dave Asher said he would like to have a pilot in the downtown location that looked at one development over the years and its impact on parking and traffic. But the council did not act on his suggestion.
“Parking is an issue all over this area,” Councilman Bob Sternoff agreed.
The zoning code amendment specified that parking would either be one spot for each housing unit or one for every two units with a management plan. The plan would record, track and document all parking spill over as well as penalize for failure to comply.
“It’s possible that over time the parking requirements may be reduced as we get more information on how these are rented out, but for now we’re comfortable,” said Planning Commission chair Mike Miller.
But Sternoff said that he didn’t know how enforcement would work out since they “have a hard enough time trying to track (their) own employee’s (parking).”
Planning Director Eric Shields said the developers would chose whether to incorporate either type of parking or a mixture of both.
Nonetheless, the council is optimistic about residential housing.
“You get something creative that fills the need and helps the community. It was never our intention to create homogenous neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Amy Walen, despite being worried about parking. “I love these. I think they’re wonderful and I love having them in downtown and Totem Lake.”
Shields said developer Robert Pantely has one parking spot for every two housing units at his Redmond location and has expressed that he is comfortable with having a transportation management plan.Contact Kirkland Reporter Reporter Raechel Dawson at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 X5052.