Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Meeting March 6

The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance will host a meeting on Wednesday, March 6, at 7pm in the Cafeteria of the Finn Hill Middle School on 132nd Street at 84th Avenue. topics for discussion will include proposed zoning changes. The meeting will cover a host of developments affecting our neighborhood and will introduce King County Council Member Rod Dembowski, who was just appointed to fill the council seat for our district that Bob Ferguson vacated after he was elected as Attorney General.

From the FHNA: Our main topics, however, will be zoning changes that the City will consider in the near future and the kick off of a traffic safety study for Juanita Drive. City officials will be on hand to summarize what the City will be doing with zoning and traffic over the coming months. The City’s action on zoning and traffic will affect you directly. Now is the time to get involved, so please make every effort to attend the March 6 meeting.

So, is the City really thinking about high rises on Finn Hill or about running more traffic over an already busy Juanita Drive?? Well, no – at least not yet. That question in the headline was just a crude effort to grab your attention. (Sorry, but it apparently worked.) That said, the City really is embarking on some important zoning plan updates that could pave the way for denser development on Finn Hill. More specifically:

· Comprehensive Plan Update: State law requires Kirkland to update its Comprehensive Plan (which governs all zoning and development policies for the City) by the middle of next year, so the City is launching a significant effort to revamp its zoning to accommodate projected population increases for Kirkland. The process will involve decisions about how growth will be accommodated in Finn Hill and other neighborhoods. Planning Director Eric Shields will explain how Kirkland will tackle this project and how community input will shape it. If you have ever wondered why certain areas are zoned the way they are, and why it seems that housing densities increase irresistibly, Eric will explain what is going on with zoning and how you can affect it.

· Neighborhood Plan: Neighborhoods that have long been a part of Kirkland – like Rose Hill – have their own neighborhood zoning plans, which are essentially neighborhood-tailored versions of the Comprehensive Plan. Being a newly annexed neighborhood, Finn Hill hasn’t developed its own neighborhood plan. FHNA has been asking the City to defer any significant zoning decisions until Finn Hill puts such a plan in place, so that City officials will understand our community priorities before they start rewriting zoning classifications in our neighborhood. We’ve even suggested a streamlined approach for neighborhood plans, in order to minimize the burden on City planners. With Eric Shields in attendance, we’ll have a good opportunity to outline how we might create such a plan in the near future.

· High Density Housing on Simonds Road: Chaffey Homes, a developer, wants to up-zone a parcel located between Simonds Road and protected stream to allow for multi-family condo or apartment development. FHNA is strongly opposed to this kind of piecemeal zoning change, and has told the City that no action should be taken until a neighborhood plan is in place. (See attached letter.) The City will be acting on this zoning proposal within the next 6 weeks. Come to the March 6 meeting to learn what’s going on and what you can do about it.

· Juanita Drive Traffic Safety Study: As you probably know, there have been some tragic accidents on Juanita Drive over the past few years. The City has decided to study safety issues affecting this important arterial and wants to hear your ideas about possible design changes to mitigate safety concerns. A City official will be on hand to describe the study’s objectives and how you can participate in developing recommendations.