Following what supporters believe to have been a successful petition drive to reverse the city's plans to place ARC in Juanita Beach Park, another online petition has launched titled, "Defend Juanita Bay from the Private Pier: The Parks and Community Waters Belong to Us All."
From what development is the group defending Juanita Bay? A private property owner has applied to build a dock which juts out into the bay a reported 272 feet.
To whom is the petition addressed? City of Kirkland Planning Director Eric Shields who has been with the city for twenty-two years.
The two petitions to prevent development plans from impacting Juanita seem to show a new path for citizens wishing to enact change (or prevent change) and to shed light on issues of land use. The underlying goal of the petitions is to amass large numbers of opposing voices which creates political pressure on the city to abide by "the will of the people." In this case, the petition is aimed at the Planning Director, Eric Shields.
Where land use issues are left to interpretation by city staff, it seems politics may be at play, or at least that is the aim of launching a petition. There are few issues which get Kirklanders more riled than development and parks. This petition seems to combine both.
As a person who frequents Juanita Beach Park, I understand the passion of the petitioners fighting a seemingly endless battle to preserve the status quo that they cherish as the drumbeat of ever more density and development never ceases. As a private property owner, I would hope that property rights would not be subject to fairness as defined by political pressure.
The petition is available at: change.org. The text of the petition is below:
Defend Juanita Bay from the Private Pier: The Parks and Community Waters Belong to Us All
The citizens of Juanita Bay have joined together to oppose proposal SHR12-01359 to build a large private pier in Juanita Bay. The proposal is to remove two docks that are approximately similar sized to the other docks in the bay (approx 65-135ft) and replace them with a single pier that is 272ft in length. The current docks support moorage of 3 boats while the proposed pier would increase capacity to a minimum of 22 vessels.
The properties are 9123 Juanita Drive (Bel Largo Condominiums) and 9049 NE Juanita Drive [adjacent].
The community objections to the pier and boat moorage slips include the following:
1. The pier will only benefit a few individuals while significantly affecting the use of all those who use the park and the waters of Juanita Bay for nature’s enjoyment.
2. It captures open waters that have been used by the public for multiple decades and will outright prevent or degrade popular community activities; kite surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers, swimmers, dog walkers and more.
3. The length of this pier would significantly narrow the passageway into the broader lake from the only open water access point at Juanita Beach. This will result in safety concerns due to increased boat traffic and navigational difficulties.
4. The pier far exceeds any dock in Juanita Bay and is multiple times longer than the applicant’s current dock (approximately 4x).
5. The pier far exceeds any other dock in capacity; currently no dock on the bay has more than 7 boats and the majority of docks have 1-2.
6. If approved, the pier length would set a precedent for other large condos in the bay.
7. The pier is in close proximity to Juanita Creek which is home to salmon and Blue Heron.
8. We believe the pier would present an eyesore in Juanita Bay due to its size.