Kirkland, like the entire Eastside, is growing rapidly and with that growth comes concerns about how it will affect neighborhoods within the city.
Susan Davis is part of a group known as Coming to Kirkland that runs a website of the same name and has concerns about a proposed mixed-use development planned for the Rose Hill neighborhood. The Continental Divide project by Merit Homes is proposing to build 133 apartments along 132nd Avenue Northeast along with 7,500 square feet of commercial space. The building would be four stories with the bottom floor comprised of parking and retail space below three floors of apartments on 2.6 acres of land and is located on land zoned for RH 8.
Kirkland zoning code states buildings within the RH 8, which has a maximum height of 30 feet and a bottom floor and must be at least 15 feet in height. The property is located on a slope, so the developers are planning for the bottom floor of parking to be located below-grade from the street with the three stories of housing on top of it. However, Davis said she and around 100 other neighbors are concerned that this may be too dense for the neighborhood and the zoning. The land is currently zoned for office use.
“It specifically states it should be low-impact office and retail,” Davis said.
Davis said she is concerned about the impacts from the structure being located adjacent to traditional, low-density residential neighborhoods. Davis said she and her neighbors are waiting for an environmental study to be submitted to the city, and in the meantime have been protesting the development.
Davis said she would like to see the development limited to only three stories, including parking. The density of the project, which is more than 51 units per acre, is also worrying to Davis who is concerned about traffic impacts to the area with more cars on the roads.
“This is affecting many people and we have a right as residents to complain because this is not following our comprehensive plan,” she said.
Davis said if the city approves the project her group may appeal the decision to a hearings examiner for further review.
The proposed Continental Divide project is one of two that are planned for the Rose Hill neighborhood along Northeast 85th Street. The other is is called the Rose Hill mixed-use project by Madison Development Group and would create 650 apartments at 12040 NE 85th St.
The projects are being built along Northeast 85th Street, an area of Kirkland where city staff hope to concentrate development density while encouraging residents to bike, walk or take transit to reduce traffic. The developments would be served by a proposed transit center on Northeast 85th Street near the Interstate 405 interchange.
Kirkland staff said in previous coverage that concentrating development along Northeast 85th Street will minimize impacts in surrounding, single-family neighborhoods.