Letters to the Editor

Kirkland city staff allows 'unbundled' parking for Potala developer | Letter

The city has just updated the Potala Village portion of their website. It appears that they have decided, once again, to allow unique strategies with the argument that "it is in the best interest of the developer." Provided below is the discussion of overflow parking onto city streets. It includes the developer's written response, the city's written response, the response of citizens and a discussion of the unique parking strategy and its flaws as found in a rating by a Potala Village Everett renter. As the parking along the boulevard and the side streets serves park goers, visitors who walk the boulevard and supports commerce in CBD and Carillon Point, this is just one more example of the wealth of one developer being placed improperly ahead of the overall good of the citizens.

EIS mitigation measures

It is possible that some parking demand generated by visitors to the office development or residential units could occur on public on-street spaces near the site. Since the on site parking supply is expected to accommodate all parking demand generated by the project, the following parking management measures could be implemented to further encourage project-generated parking to occur on-site: "Bundle parking with apartment leases (or condominium sales) to reduce the likelihood that residents will forego on-site parking and choose instead to park on the adjacent streets."

Applicant's response: "The developer is currently investigating several methods of sale/rent options. It is in the best financial interest of the developer to have all available residential stalls occupied, utilized and paid for. Therefore,bundled sales may not be the chosen sales method but whatever method is chosen it will seek to maximize utilization of all available on-site parking."

Staff analysis: "Staff will not require this mitigation."

Citizen comments: "While staff will require other mitigations, none of these requirements do anything of any significance to encourage a car owner from parking on the street instead of paying for parking in the building, e.g. putting a kiosk onsite with transit information. The required mitigations are worthless 'fluff.'"

"For months (years) the citizens have provided testimony in opposition to this unique approach of this developer. Where parking spaces are de-coupled from the apartment rental there is expected to be a very detrimental impact on the use of city streets and consumption of parking spaces. Many will rent an apartment and forgo the extra expense of parking stalls."

"The citizens have argued that de-coupling stalls is contrary to the requirement of 1.7 parking spaces per residential unit.  If a renter chooses to use city street instead of paid parking, there is 0.0 parking spaces for that unit."

"Where else in Kirkland is an apartment/condo allowed to charge separately for the parking spaces? (Citizens have been shown no other examples of this)."

"In a parking structure that is expected to function at a very poor level (D or E), who will pay more rent in order to park in their apartment complex?"

"The Shorelines Management Act requires that all parking be handled on-site, and a minimum of parking spill out into Shoreline area streets.  The same is true in the non-shoreline areas."

"The city is once again putting the profit ('best financial interest of the developer') ahead of city goals, policies and the character and functioning of the neighborhood (as attested to in hundreds of citizen emails and dozens of comments made from the podium in Planning Commission and City Council meetings."

"Again, why does the 'financial interest' of one person seem to trump all the city rules, policies and their intent? Why does this one person's wealth trump the neighborhood character and the ability for visitors to our area to find parking for their enjoyment of the shoreline jurisdiction parks and their walks on the boulevard which result in their visits and their business done in Carillon Point and the Central Business District?"

I found these comments on the website that user "kristinfogg" posted on Oct. 29: "My fiancé and I lived at Potala village for a year (2012-13). Initially, we loved the apartment and the management, but about two months later that all changed. We have lived in many different apartments and have never had this many problems … They charge for parking so we decided to only have one spot. They tried charging us for two spots for months. Then they said that we were $150 behind in utilities, which wasn't true, but couldn't prove it with the ridiculous 'spread sheet' system they have. Upon move out they said that we owed $513 all for things they made up. We are still in the middle of a dispute with them and the manager … has made this experience even worse."

Karen Levenson, Kirkland

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