Kirkland City Hall. File photo

Kirkland City Hall. File photo

Kirkland approves updates to Rose Hill zoning

The amendments clarify language bringing the code in line with a recently passed neighborhood plan.

Kirkland City Council has adopted several amendments that will affect how development occurs in the Rose Hill neighborhood, a major thoroughfare in east Kirkland.

The amendments are an update to the Rose Hill Neighborhood Plan. They were adopted last December and brought the city’s zoning map and code regulations into compliance with the new policies in the plan, and clarify regulations in the Rose Hill Business District. Council considered the issue at its last meeting but sent the amendments back to the Planning Commission for further comment, which the commission declined. The updates were approved at the May 7 council meeting.

“I think staff’s done a wonderful job on this. It hasn’t been easy because there’s been really good comments from the community and I think they made a lot of adjustments the Planning Commission recommends this go forward,” said councilmember Tom Neir.

The city adopted regulations including amendments to zoning including rezoning four properties along 126th Avenue Northeast allowing development to proceed as medium density. It would allow up to 12 housing units per acre or limited commercial development. For RH3 zones, it could allow lot coverage to increase from 80 percent to 100 percent coverage. The updates also allow Lake Washington Institute of Technology to expand in the future to build affordable units and dorms.

While the updates were approved, councilmember Dave Asher voiced concerns about the plan.

“We are putting a huge impact in a very small bag in the RH8 zone and this is not what anyone anticipated as being possible in this area where we are less intense and people are still using less intense,” he said.

Changes to the RH8 commercial zones include adding a minimum of 60 percent commercial street use along Northeast 85th Street and barring housing, nursing or assisted living units at street level within 30 feet from the street. Building height remains the same at 30 feet above the average building elevation and an additional five feet allowed when buildings are setback beyond 30 feet.

Councilmember Toby Nixon compiled a list of concerns he had heard from residents about the zoning changes, including thoughts that parking garages shouldn’t be allowed, the city should increase commercial frontage instead of housing and whether new developments would shade adjacent residential neighborhoods and create privacy concerns. Nixon voted to approve the project.

“I pondered on all of these in some depth including the extent to which I agreed or disagreed,” he said.

In December, the city approved a plan that merged north and south Rose Hill for planning purposes. The neighborhoods were split by a commercial and business district running along Northeast 85th Street. Neighborhood representatives previously told the Reporter that while the areas would be merged, they would retain their own neighborhood associations and character.

The Northeast 85th Street corridor is well served by bus transit and is a major transportation route running east-west through the city and as such provides an opportunity for the city to concentrate more dense development. Surrounding neighborhoods will remain low-density, generally allowing no more than six housing units per acre.

Two large projects are already underway along Northeast 85th Street, including one being constructed by Madison Development Group known as Rose Hill. The project would build a 1.09-million-square-foot project with up to 650 apartments at 12040 Northeast 85th Street on a plot that currently houses a strip mall. The other is the Continental Divide along Northeast 85th Street and 132nd Avenue Northeast which could see an additional 133 apartments built along with retail.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Kirkland allocates CARES Act funding

The council approved the city manager’s plans for the $2.6 million

Celebrate Kirkland festivities on previous July 4. Reporter file photo
Kirkland hosting virtual ‘Celebrate Kirkland’

The Independence Day virtual event includes footage from previous parades and firework displays

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Locals enjoy the water at Juanita Beach Park, where the Friday farmer’s market is located. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Juanita Beach to close at least a week from bacteria

This closure is in addition to the previous week’s closure that was caused by a toxic algal bloom in the water.

Most Read