Kirkland City Council asks for further analysis and recommendation on Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center rezoning plans

The Kirkland City Council voted to run an analysis and ask a recommendation on allowing residential suites and therefore increasing the density of city owned property at the Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center (HENC) at last Tuesday’s council meeting.

The council is asking for further analysis and recommendation from the Houghton Community Council and the Kirkland planning commission on how to proceed with the rezoning plans for the HENC.

The rezoning plans have been met with opposition from the community due to a fear of increased traffic in the area.

The rezoning plans could allow for an increase in building height limit in the area, thus increasing the population density. These plans have seen an outpouring of negative feedback and this decision to conduct further analysis comes after another round of community pushback.

Molly Working, a 30-year resident of Houghton, spoke at the meeting during a public comment period.

“Traffic has been an issue raised again and again by residents,” she said. “Increasing density in the Houghton Everest Center proposed design changes will add to the already untenable traffic situation in our neighborhood.”

One man pleaded that the council listen to the residents of Houghton. He claimed that the council has been ignoring the resident’s concerns at local meetings.

Another resident said she was “astounded at [the council’s] disregard” for their constituents, and that it would be “careless to consider projects that increase density.”

The council did not address these concerns directly during the meeting, but discussed unfinished business regarding rezoning clarification from the previous meeting.

A comprehensive packet of the unfinished business and zoning requirements discussed at Tuesday’s meeting can be found at the Kirkland City Council agendas page under the July 18, 2017 Kirkland City Council Meeting.

Full details of the proposed zoning changes can be found in the May 11 planning commission agenda packet on the city’s website, kirklandwa.gov.

The Houghton Community Council has the power to veto whatever the Kirkland council decides, but the community council, planning commission and city staff have been collaborating to minimize the likelihood of this occurring. Any reversal only affects the area in Houghton, not Everest.

For more information about HENC, visit kirklandwa.gov/HE6th. Both the planning commission and the community council have discussed the issue at multiple meetings. Video of planning commission meetings, audio of community council meetings and agendas for both are available on the city’s website as well.

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