Mayor Walen, Deputy Mayor Arnold, and Councilmembers Sweet, Marchione and Nixon, have taken a stand for common sense and the future of our community regarding the Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center (HENC).
At Tuesday’s Nov. 21 council meeting the council refused to bow to pressure from those few but vocal residents who insist on making Kirkland’s own housing crisis worse. Kudos to the 5 council members who voted to allow more housing to be built in this fantastic, accessible neighborhood. The Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center has excellent transit and, by local standards, good walking and bike connections. It’s exactly where more people should have an opportunity to live. The denser development will also support more shopping and dining options for existing residents.
All we’ve built for the past few decades, and especially the last few years, are larger and larger single-family homes. A generation is being priced out of Kirkland. Because we can’t build denser housing, pressure on green spaces has increased dramatically. Is this the neighborhood character that current residents insist that they are trying to preserve?
Every city needs great neighborhoods. Great neighborhoods have a mix of uses where residents can walk or bike to local amenities. Great neighborhoods have a mix of housing so they can be home to a range of incomes and to people at different life stages. Great neighborhoods encourage human contact. Great neighborhoods have a neighborhood character that says more than easy parking. Great neighborhoods are continuously evolving.
Great neighborhoods are not made by prioritizing whether those driving through will experience a few seconds more in traffic in 2035.
As the Mayor recently observed, “What a welcoming city does is make room for people moving here.” Most people who spend their days in Kirkland can’t afford to live here unless they were fortunate to have purchased years ago. That vote was a test of our city’s values. We are proud that a majority of our council members passed the test.
and Calvin Tonini,