Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Developers are asking for too much

Dear Editor,

We want retail; they want high rise buildings. Touchstone has made convenient use of an oversight in the Comprehensive Plan, which did not specify “first floor retail” in Parkplace. Now the Planning Commission and Touchstone say we must choose between three plans: 3-5 stories of office, 5-8 stories mixed-use or even 11 stories mixed-use.

Why must we accept the rezone for use AND height?

The Orni Private Amendment Requests utilize a similar ploy. Located between the Post Office parking lot and Kirkland Park Place Condominiums, where I live, this property now has low profile office buildings. It is actually zoned for three-story, multi-family dwellings.

An exception, granted some 30 years ago by the city permitted office use. Now Orni is asking, not only to legitimize the office use, but additionally to rezone for six stories — double the height of any building in this residential area.

Even the new Google complex in Houghton is within the Comprehensive Plan of three stories. Why can’t the Orni property simply be changed from “Multiple Family Dwellings” to “Office?” And why can’t the Touchstone developers request a rezone to include mixed-use, 3-5 stories? Then perhaps we might redevelop while keeping our rating as “Third Best out of 95 Neighborhoods” (May 2008 Seattle Metropolitan Magazine).

These owners claim it is uneconomical to build the lower heights now required by existing zoning. Excuse me? How much money do they need to make at our expense?

~Cam Bradley, Kirkland/ Moss Bay Neighborhood

If you don’t like progress, move away

Dear Editor,

I recently learned about the plans for the Orni Property in downtown Kirkland when someone sent a link to a Website created as an opposition for the project. And I cannot tell you how much I disagree with every point made on site.

Yes, I do want Kirkland to turn into what they call “Kirk-Square.” I think that would be the best thing that could happen to Kirkland.

Right now, the Bellevue Square area is the most desirable area to live in anywhere in the state. Look at what has happened to property values in that area. Look at how many great restaurants have opened in Bellevue.

People can now live, work and play in Bellevue without even getting in their car. For people who don’t like progress, I suggest they move to a town far away from the metropolitan area that doesn’t have the opportunity to develop into something great.

~Ben Rutkowski, Kirkland

Bad budget decisions at City Hall

Dear Editor,

When the Council adopted this year’s budget, it was $319 million dollars. The adjusted figure is now $365 million; some $46 million over budget at a time they face a budget shortfall of $13.8 million. They busted the budget.

The Council should not increase fees and taxes by $5.8 million when citizens are faced with higher taxes and reduced income. They also propose service cuts of $5.5 million. We end up paying more for less. That’s not good government.

Before they do anything else, one-time expenditures for programs, projects, and personnel should be eliminated. There should be a moratorium on spending for new capital improvement projects. Department expenditures should be reviewed for excessive costs. The city manager has more than enough assistants.

The one-time opportunity costs that Council members Burleigh, McBride and Sternoff promote cause us to go broke under the guise of saving money. They generate greater public debt. Juanita Beach is an example. The one-time opportunity cost was a huge on-going liability we didn’t need.

Our culture expects people to support themselves, their families and the society they live in. Council member McBride wants to change our culture to one that allows government to take our money for charities by force of law.

People want to give to whom they want, not to whom the council picks. That choice should be ours. Councilman Asher was correct when he said it’s wrong for government to take money from other people only to give the money to someone else.

~Robert L. Style, Kirkland