Kirkland hearing examiner issues decision on Carillon Point seaplane permit

The Kirkland hearing examiner has approved — with conditions — the Carillon Point Seaplane Operation Shoreline Conditional Use Permit, moving it forward to the Washington State Department of Ecology for a final decision.

James Young of Seaplane Scenics and Sue Gemmill of Carillon Properties are the permit applicants, proposing to operate a commercial seaplane tourism business out of the Carillon Point Marina. Young’s company, which is based in Renton and already offers Lake Washington tours, is looking to expand to Kirkland.

They have been met with concerns from residents near Carillon Point, including Karen Story, who filed a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) appeal in opposition to the permit on behalf of the Citizens for a Livable Waterfront group. The hearing examiner denied the appeal in February.

In the decision on the permit, Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil added conditions for the operation of the seaplane business, including the following:

  • “The applicant shall provide regular maintenance of aircraft, and operate aircraft, to prevent engine backfire and noise exceeding the maximum levels allowed by code.”
  • “Only one take-off and one landing per hour shall occur, including the return flight of the aircraft at the end of the day. The float plane operation shall be limited to the following hours of operation: (a) 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; and (b) 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday.”
  • “The applicant shall only utilize Cessna 172 and 185 aircraft, or aircraft that meets the same standards or better for noise emissions.”

Vancil issued the decision on the conditional use permit on April 19, and City of Kirkland planner Christian Geitz said the Dept. of Ecology has 21 days from that decision to issue its decision.

More information about the conditional use permit, which is also known as file number SHR16-00803, can be found on the city’s website,, on the planning department’s public notices page. Geitz said documentation of the Dept. of Ecology’s decision will be posted there as well once it is received.

Whatever the Dept. of Ecology decides can be appealed; petitions for review must be filed within 21 days of the decision with the State Shoreline Hearings Board.