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Including bonus units for affordable housing is bad idea | Letter
The fierce debate over densities at 10th and Lake Street, 13th/14th and Market Street, 70th Pl NE and 132nd just had an unexpected reversal! YIKES !!
Citizens had discussed 48 per acre as a maximum, and with what appeared to be council support, this was suggested at the council meeting and it seemed to have five supporters.
Then the bad news arrived Friday. As staff was preparing the council packet, they included “bonus units for affordable units.” This is not something that is within the equation of other commercial properties since they do not have density caps, but BN Commercial properties are also not RM-multifamily where the “affordability bonus” has otherwise applied. This certainly feels like a twisting of our intentions!
How much higher than 48 per acre if the affordability bonus is added?
Forgive me as I use Potala as the example, it is the one I am most familiar with. For that property, which is 1.2 acres, the base density would be 58 … The wording of bonus density is not easy to understand. It first indicates that on this property the maximum with affordable would be 72 and that bonus is not something that can be appealed. Then the text describes an additional 25 percent bonus density (which can be appealed) but that would bring the Potala site all the way to 90 units! If you live by the Market Street or South Rose Hill sites you may know what that means to you!
Seventy, 80 or 90 units are much higher than citizens see as acceptable. We feel that our compromise solution was misconstrued. On Lake Street, where all the ingress and egress concerns made the city restrict and remove density, it would be an injustice to neighbors if this many residents and cars were allowed across one driveway and a very heavily used sidewalk while the ingress/egress issue kept the rest of us at a low 12 units per acre. Unfair treatment and a spot zone appears to be what the lawyers seem to call it … We just call it illogical and favoring of just one neighbor.
If you have interest in any of these BN-zones and if you are similarly disappointed that the 48 units per acre was not applied as a firm cap as it was offered, then please join us at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 in City Council chambers, 123 Fifth Ave, Kirkland. You will want to join us wearing red and you will want to immediately send a letter to the council. Only three persons are allowed to speak on this topic and the spots are usually taken.
If you need assistance or want the committee to have a copy of your email you may send it to me or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Levenson, Kirkland