City officials welcomed public input this past week on two of the most heavily visited areas of the city: Kirkland’s shoreline and downtown shopping district.
The meetings were different in purpose, but shared the aim of maintaining Kirkland’s vibrancy and economic vitality.
The city currently maintains 6.8 miles of trails, 132.7 acres of parks and open space and 2.5 miles of public waterfront access, all falling under the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Plan. State law now requires the city to meet higher standards on zoning, public access and preservation of wetlands than currently exist.
On June 9, city planners met with about 30 residents and a variety of public interest groups to discuss updating the Shoreline Master Plan.
Since the Washington State’s Shoreline Management Act (SMA) was passed into law in 1971, Kirkland’s shoreline has changed in many ways. A chain of public parks has provided improved access to the shoreline, wastewater treatment plants have stopped sewage outflows and lowered pollution, and the shipbuilding industry, previously located at Carillon Point, has left.
Conversely, an increase in privately developed docks, piers, shoreline armoring and bulkheads have affected the natural environment of the shoreline.
“We’re trying to encourage people to do a softer alternative,” said Kirkland Deputy Planning Director Paul Stewart. The next meeting to discuss the shoreline update is scheduled for September.
On June 11, the Kirkland Parking Advisory Board held a final meeting with downtown-area businesses and stakeholders. Board members, city officials, local business owners and residents worked with Portland, Ore., consultant Rick Williams to first discuss a variety of funding scenarios for a parking garage. City transportation engineer David Godfrey said the first priority is gauging interest in funding a new downtown parking garage — then figuring out where to put it.
The board discussed a number of the scenarios for a 343-stall garage, with investment estimates ranging from $2.5 to $3.7 million over 25 years (funded through a variety of options). The advisory board plans to meet again before returning with recommendations to City Council in July.
A Shoreline Plan survey is still available for public input on the city’s Web site.