Residents near Juanita Bay are protesting a proposal to replace the two current private piers at the Bel Lago Condominiums with a new 272-foot private pier, claiming it would impact use of Juanita Beach Park and the nearby open water.
The property owner has submitted a Process I Substantial Development Permit application to build the pier at 9049 and 9123 NE Juanita Drive. It would contain 22 slips for moorage and replace two separate piers.
Before city of Kirkland Planning Director Eric Shields decides whether to approve or reject the application for the permit, however, the public is invited to provide comment on the proposal until April 6. In addition to the city, the property owner will need approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A petition has already started online opposing the permit, with over 100 signatures. Among the qualms stated in the petition are that the unusually long length of the pier would negatively affect access to open water around Juanita Beach for water sports recreations, such as kitesurfing and paddle-boarding, as well as cause potential harm to the salmon and Blue Heron at Juanita Creek. The petition also states that allowing such a long pier, much longer than any other in the bay, would set a “troubling precedent.”
This isn’t the first time Bel Lago condos has been the focus of controversy. Despite neighbors’ objections, King County let the seven-and-a-half story building be built between Northeast Juanita Drive and the shores of Lake Washington in 2006, blocking many neighbors’ views. The condo then sat dormant and unfinished for years after the original developer ran out of funding. It was then purchased by Bellevue-based Legacy Homes in 2012.