City of Kirkland mistake deprives citizens of property rights | LETTER
March 28, 2012 · 1:17 PM
Developers are property rights advocates. But what if their “rights” infringe on the rights of neighbors? Whose rights come first? If you live next to commercial zones in the City of Kirkland, your rights no longer count.
A one-word oversight in Kirkland’s zoning code is systematically denying property rights to Kirkland citizens. That word is “none” in a box specifying minimum lot size for residential development in areas designated for Neighborhood Business.
By failing to correct this one simple word in the zoning table – as twice instructed by the Kirkland Council – the city has opened the door for developers to build as many apartments as they can cram onto any commercial-zoned property, no matter how small that property may be, and right next door to single-family homes. This is completely contrary to both the clear language (and city leaders’ admitted intent) of Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan.
This oversight has systematically denied neighbors’ protection from over development of adjacent property.
Commercial zones are meant for commerce. Residential zones are meant for residences. Does it strike anyone but me as odd that a small scale, low impact “neighborhood business” zone should be allowed unlimited residential density – despite protections against that in the Comprehensive Plan?
The city must uphold its end of the bargain and correct this error in the zoning table. Neighbors have property rights too.
When a city mistake gives a developer a loophole big enough to drive 100-200 apartments through, it’s easy for that developer to say “Variance? I don’t need no stinkin’ variance.”
Charles A. Pilcher, Kirkland