Downtown developer files lawsuit against city

For nearly a year, developers working on a plan for the corner of South Lake Street and Kirkland Avenue have gathered local input and gone through the local process for a new building there.

  • Monday, September 1, 2008 6:57pm
  • News

For nearly a year, developers working on a plan for the corner of South Lake Street and Kirkland Avenue have gathered local input and gone through the local process for a new building there.

Now the plans have shifted to Superior Court.

SRM Development filed a lawsuit against the city of Kirkland and Citizens for a Vibrant Kirkland (CiViK) on Aug. 26, claiming a violation of state fairness laws and constitutional rights in the appeal of the Bank of America/Merrill Gardens (BofA) development project in downtown Kirkland.

The BofA project originally was approved by Kirkland’s Design Review Board (DRB) and later appealed by CiViK. The City Council, acting as a quasi-judicial body, voted 4-3 at an Aug. 5 meeting to turn away the redevelopment plan after four months of lengthy and at times heated debate. The council appeared to deny the project on narrow grounds of two objections raised in the appeal – plans to keep an existing drive-through which exits onto Kirkland Avenue and the lack of appearance of two stories along Lake Street South.

SRM claims the council introduced a number of elements that were outside of the scope of the appeal and they also were subject to due process and equal protection violations.

They are seeking to overturn the decision to deny the plans to move forward and suing for an unspecified amount of damages.

While neither SRM nor CiViK returned calls for comment, City Attorney Robin Jenkinson confirmed that the city would hire legal representation to respond to the lawsuit. The city is insured by a state municipal insurance pool.

She also confirmed the city spent $5,120 on legal fees for hiring Prof. David Boerner. He advised the council on how to handle an unauthorized disclosure of confidential documents by councilman Tom Hodgson to appellants CiViK at a July 1 City Council meeting.

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