Group opposing controversial Potala Village project files lawsuit intervention
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
November 1, 2012 · Updated 4:31 PM
A group of residents who oppose the controversial proposed Potala Village project have filed a legal motion to allow them to join the ongoing litigation between the developer and the City of Kirkland.
The group’s attorney, Seattle-based Socius Law Group, PLLC, filed an intervenor for declaratory judgement in King County Superior Court on Monday.
The motion seeks to include concerned neighbors of the proposed project in the lawsuit that developer Lobsang Dargey filed against the city in May. That lawsuit sought an injunction against a building moratorium that was imposed on the city’s Business Neighborhood-zoned properties.
The suit also asked for the proposed four-story development to be approved under the zoning codes in effect at the time of application. It further stated that any changes to zoning codes during the building moratorium cannot be legally imposed on the Potala Village project, which would be located at the southeast corner of 10th Avenue South and Lake Street South.
The group - called GMA Advocates Alarmed by Unplanned, Uncoordinated, Incompatible Piecemeal Development (GMA Advocates Alarmed by UUIPD) - says the judgement in that case would affect their rights and the legal motion would allow them to be heard in the case as well.
Karen Levenson, who is a member of the group, emphasized that the current mediation between concerned neighbors, Dargey and the city is still ongoing.
“We are still actively trying to work at mediation,” said Levenson, adding that the group is hopeful for a positive result. “But the developer still filed his own lawsuit and we feel there are numerous inaccuracies in what’s being presented.”
Dargey declined to comment.
GMA Advocates Alarmed by UUIPD alleges that the applications submitted by the developer were incomplete. They say the documents were also undated and missing required signatures from the property owner who lives in Portland.
“There were several places where the developer was required to give accurate and complete information about the Comprehensive Plan land use allowed on the properties and on the adjacent properties and those details were not provided,” said Levenson in an email. “These are but a few of the areas that the neighbors feel were incomplete. Since these are the specific incompatibilities that are problematic with the Potala Village proposal, their omission is more than a minor problem.”
The legal motion also states that the developer’s submitted project proposal also failed to meet the required zoning. That zoning calls for 75 percent of the project’s ground floor must be retail, restaurants, taverns or offices. However, the proposal outlines that a parking lot would take up the majority of ground floor, according to the legal motion.
City attorney Robin Jenkinson was unavailable for comment.
Nearly 1,000 residents have provided input on Potala Village - a proposed 143 apartment unit project on a 1.2 acre lot with a view of Lake Washington in the Moss Bay neighborhood. The building will have 6,000 square feet of retail space, plus retail parking.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at email@example.com or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).