LETTER | Confusing and Missing Information from Staff Report For Dargey Development Potala Village R

s many citizens are aware, the Design Review Board will be meeting with Lobsang Dargey to begin finding ways to mitigate the size, scale, mass and other incompatibilities identified by the Environmental Impact Report. This meeting is at city hall at 7pm on Monday, March 16th.  Design Review Encourages Public Participation.

There are two SIGNIFICANT issues of concern

1)     The first: One can only guess the size, scale & mass since Dargey has not provided the measurements of 4 floors

a)     One alert citizen took the claim of square footage directly from Dargey.com website, then multiplied that by the 4 floors for a sum of 218,036 sq ft.  It was noted that this was 44% larger than what the EIS consultants were given to review.  This requires a new Supplemental EIS and a new Shoreline Application.

b)     The 218,036 seemed too high. We reached out to Dargey for accurate 4 story measurements – NO ANSWER!

c)     Another interested citizen pointed to the text in part of Caron’s Conceptual Design packet.  It claimed the total area would be only 112,062 sq feet.  THIS WAS QUICKLY PROVEN FALSE.  This would mean that the 4 floor plates were only 28,000 sq feet each and this would be only 50% lot coverage.  You can tell from the graphics that nearly all the lot is covered.  It also could not be true because the parking spaces wouldn’t fit.

d)     Finally, the idea as parking spaces as a measuring tool was considered since there are required widths.  This seems to have provided the closest guess of actual floor plate size since we have non-responsive developer.

1st Story:  This story was measured at 28-9’ stall widths (252’) by 22-9’ stall widths (198’) = 49,896 sq ft

It is important to note that the EIS consultants commented that they counted the courtyard at ground floor.

2nd Story: Called “Parking Level” by Dargey.  As w/EIS, this story had courtyard area removed = 42,260 sq ft

3rd Story: Called “Level 2 Residential” even though it’s the 3rd story.  Same calculation as 2nd fl = 42,260 sq ft

4th Story: Called “Level 3 Residential” even though it’s the 4th story.  Same calculation as 2nd fl = 42,260 sq ft

Sum of 4 stories = 175,649 sq ft.  Volume = 1,756,490 cu ft vs. average neighborhood bldg. = 70,210 cu ft


SOME ISSUES with final calculation:

     The mass (or volume) of the proposed Potala Building is 25 times the average adjacent building mass

     49,896 is 91% lot coverage.  Not 70% as evaluated in EIS.

     175,649 is 20% larger than what the EIS was given to review. 

     Because it is larger, it will need a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study. 

     Because it is more than 10% larger, a new Shorelines Application is needed.


2)     The second concern is that the most important parts of the DRB consideration were not written into the main body of the staff report and were not included as probing questions for discussion.  They were only tacked on at the end of the report as if they were an appendix..  These are really the most important issues, so the citizens would like them included in topics for discussion and in the body of the staff report.


                                     “Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Business Districts”

“Kirkland’s Neighborhood Business Districts (BN, BNA and MSC2) are important in providing neighborhood goods and services… Because these districts are surrounded by the residential land uses they serve, the design character and context of new development is critical to ensure that it integrates into the neighborhood”

 “Moss Bay Neighborhood:  Ensure that building design is compatible with the neighborhood in SIZE, SCALE and character” [emphasis added]  The definition of “Scale” intended for Design Review Use is provided in this city publication  “When the buildings in a neighborhood are about the SAME SIZE and proportion, we say they are ‘in scale.’”


                                       “Special Considerations for Neighborhood Business Districts”

“Above the ground floor, buildings should utilize upper story step backs to create receding building forms as building height increases.”

“Commercial space should generally be at grade with the adjoining sidewalk. “ “…commercial space that is above or below the grade of the sidewalk can compromise the desired pedestrian orientation”


                                                       The Design Review Board, just like every board, commission and council for Kirkland is not allowed to approve anything that is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan.  “The city’s legislative and administrative actions and decisions must be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan” (CP pg III-1). This is a Kirkland requirement as well as a state requirement.  The DRB will need to look carefully at the many compatibility requirements found in the plan, as well as well as the general sections of the Design Guidelines for Pedestrian Oriented Business Districts.  Zoning and Mandatory PW Policies must be met for any project to move forward. It seems there is a lot of work up ahead of Dargey Development, the citizens and the DRB.

Karen Levenson