James Young, owner of Seaplane Scenics, speaks during a Hearing Examiner meeting on Jan. 30. Young hopes to operate aerial tours out of Kirkland’s Carillon Point. JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD/Kirkland Reporter

Hearing Examiner denies local appeal, upholds city decision on Seaplane company

The Kirkland Hearing Examiner denied an appeal by local residents, an attempt to block seaplane tourism on the Kirkland waterfront, in a decision on Feb. 24.

Seaplane Scenics, which is based in Renton and already offers tours over Lake Washington, would begin offering tours out of Carillon Point — up to 12 flights per day.

Citizens for a Livable Waterfront, in a special meeting on Jan. 30, argued the proposed seaplane activity would be a safety hazard for recreators and wildlife, and could damage sensitive wildlife habitat in Yarrow Bay. In particular, the group took issue with a noise study included in the initial permit application from Carillon Point and Seaplane Scenics.

On Feb. 24, the Hearing Examiner denied the appeal and affirmed the city’s Determination of Non-Significance, which states the operation would not have an adverse effect on nearby wildlife.

The Hearing Examiner, however, did not rule on the Shoreline Conditional Use Permit application itself. The Hearing Examiner requested additional details on how planes will navigate paddle boarders, boaters and other obstacles on the water — details the city’s planning department needed only a few days to put together.

The deadline for the application to return to the Hearing Examiner was set for May 31, but the city planning department expects to have completed the process sooner — much sooner.

If the Hearing Examiner gives approval, the application will then go back to the city, which will then send it to the Washington Department of Ecology for final approval.

Carillion Properties manager Sue Gemmill and Seaplane Scenics owner and James Young did not respond to request for comment.