LETTER: Potala Village throws its garbage in the face of Kirkland citizens

Editor:

 

Citizens learned in October, 2012, that the Potala Village apartment project lacked any garbage management system for dumpsters. Waste Management trucks would clearly not fit down the sloped driveway. No options were shown on the plans. When citizens asked the Planning Department about this, they were told “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

 

Well, we’ve reached that bridge, near the very end of the permitting process. And guess what Joe Zlab, VP of Path America, has asked the City to approve at the 11th hour: To move multiple dumpsters onto Lake Street/Lake Washington Boulevard and park them there several times a week so Waste Management can empty them! (As many know, Path America is a company created by Lobsang and Tamara Agassi Dargey with the dual purpose of soliciting what appears to be their sole funding source from wealthy Chinese seeking to fast-track obtaining Visas for themselves and their families; and their construction firm of record.)

 

On April 24, the day after submitting plans, Mr. Zlab sent Tom Radford, Kirkland Planning Department, an email in which he says:  "Our schedule is extremely tight on all these matters… we have complied with all the city comments/requirements… regarding the trash pickup and we believe we have this one solved as well in the most recent drawings submitted yesterday. Hopefully this last review should just be checking the boxes that we have complied with all the requirements. We would like to be notified when the review is complete so that we can pay the permit fees and get the project bid..."

 

Where do you get off trying to steamroll the City of Kirkland, Joe Zlab?  Again!  Just check the boxes, indeed.  You wish.  Didn’t think people would catch wind of your arrogant maneuvering of the Dargeys’ ridiculous garbage disposal plan, did you?

 

The developers have this problem because they are trying to cram 88 apartments onto a parcel envisioned for only 14-15 in the Comprehensive Plan. To achieve this density and stay within the height restriction for this zone, the ground floor will be sunk 5 feet below street level. With minimum setbacks and a driveway that thus slopes downward into the parking garage, there is no way for Waste Management trucks to access the Potala garbage dumpsters that meets the requirements of the Zoning Code.

 

So the questions are:

Why should our public streets be a parking lot for dumpsters?

Why should the City allow Waste Management to block vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Lake Washington Boulevard while dumpsters are emptied?

Why should Potala Village be exempt from the requirement that service vehicles must be able to access trash containers onsite?

 

This is what the Kirkland Zoning Code says:

Section 115.45 requires that dumpsters be screened from view and accessible to garbage trucks. Specifically, the Code states:

The purpose of these regulations is to ensure the provision of areas for the collection, storage, loading and pickup of garbage and recyclable materials by requiring that adequate and convenient space is functionally located at all new projects...

Garbage and recycling receptacles must

Comply with the setbacks established for the use with which they are associated

Be located to minimize visibility from any street, pedestrian walkway, or public park

Be located to provide convenient and safe access for residents, service vehicles and employees

Be screened from view from the street and from adjacent properties by a solid screening enclosure that meets or exceeds the standards established in the Public Works Pre-approved Plans and Policies.

KZC 83.450 for Shorelines Areas, under which the developer claims he has vesting rights, restates the same requirements.

 

All other multifamily developments along the boulevard provide off-street locations for garbage collection that avoid impacting public spaces or traffic flow. For obvious reasons, Kirkland does not and should not allow such an exemption anywhere in our City, especially on our signature lakefront pedestrian boulevard.  Can you imagine how many garbage dumpsters and recycling bins will be required to haul trash from 88 households PLUS the commercial businesses planned for the site . . . all lined up on Lake Washington Blvd. several times a week?  This ludicrous last minute proposal to permanently commandeer a vital stretch of the Boulevard as their private dumping ground is more evidence that the Dargeys have marched into Kirkland as rank amateur “developers” with an ill-conceived project.  Time and again, they have demanded preferential treatment.  The City has to stop this . . . NOW! 

 

Robin Herberger