Letter | Kirkland, a divided city

By Robert Style

Many neighborhoods like the small town feeling.  Some Councilmembers want more development.  Who will win?

Thanks to the Growth Management Act, cities are required to update their comprehensive plans.  The same development problems have not gone away – protecting neighborhoods, promoting economic development, and compliance with regional county, state, and federal requirements.  Starting with the Lakeview and Central Houghton neighborhoods, the City will try to address everyone’s concerns.  It will not be an easy task.

METRO wants to develop King County property located at the south Kirkland Park & Ride.  Will the City listen to METRO or listen to its citizens?  About 1/3 of the property is not within city limits and is governed by Bellevue.  They have yet to consider the proposal.  Should Kirkland act before knowing what Bellevue will do?

The seriousness of the issue prevailed at last year’s council’s retreat.  The discussion was over goals and promotion of the “small town feel.”  The Council could not come to an agreement, to pursue more citywide economic development or to protect the neighborhoods.  They were deadlocked.

Will METRO’s proposal to provide mixed uses that includes more affordable housing encourage the use of mass transit and if it does, will it attract more cars to Kirkland?  It will not reduce congestion.  Are 200 more parking spots necessary and if so, who will use them, the new housing units or transits?  What are the impacts of traffic to Kirkland?

Currently, about 25% of the housing units are considered affordable.  Is more subsidized housing really necessary for the city?  Will these neighborhoods accept them?  If these neighborhoods don’t, which other neighborhoods will?    Who will win?

Affordable housing belongs where property is more affordable.  State law requires the Counties to address affordable housing.  The City of Seattle wants more.  Kirkland citizens should ask if providing more in Kirkland is acceptable.  Where they are located will stir controversy.

I believe METRO’s project will endanger the small town feeling of the neighborhoods?  Almost every neighborhood objects to more traffic especially if the added traffic is for commercial reasons.

The Council is divided.   How do they protect neighborhoods and the small town feeling and yet provide the resources needed to promote economic development?  Who will they listen to, outside agencies like METRO or the neighborhoods within the city?

Bob Style