LETTER | Potala Village - New Legal Papers Served

Dear Editor:

I wanted to provide an update to the nearly 1000 citizens who have provided input on Unplanned, Uncoordinated, Incompatible Piecemeal development - specifically as it relates to Potala Village.

Yesterday, the City of Kirkland and the developer for the proposed Potala Village project were served with legal papers that are intended to include interested neighbors in the lawsuit Potala Village LLC v City of Kirkland.

The legal document is available as a public record at the city and has been made available to you as a link.

Neighbors strongly point out that the applications submitted by the developer were very incomplete. Documents are undated and missing required signatures of the elderly woman property owner who lives in Portland, for starters.

There were several places where the developer was required to give accurate and complete information about the Comprehensive Plan land use allowed on the properties and on the adjacent properties and those details were not provided. These are but a few of the areas that the neighbors feel were incomplete. Since these are the specific incompatibilities that are problematic with the Potala Village proposal, their omission is more than a minor problem.

The proposal submitted as part of the incomplete application also failed to meet the required zoning of 75% ground floor must be "retail establishment, restaurants, taverns or offices." The proposal used the majority of the ground floor for the parking of cars which is not allowed for more than 25%.

Also with respect to zoning, the neighbors feel that it is important to note that historical changes were made by ordinance (reducing the density to zero or 12 units/acre) and the records for the parcels (city records) show the neighborhood plan density of 12 per acre consistently applied to subject parcels and the pre-submittal documents told developers that the zoning regulations and the comprehensive plan and Shorelines/SEPA must all be met - and where there are conflicts, the most restrictive provisions apply.

What is curious is that the developer was given the Comp Plan Neighborhood plan from planning staff during his project's presubmittal. The first page tells the developer that the attached portions of "the Neighborhood Plan applies SPECIFICALLY to SUBJECT property." (emphasis added). Pg 2 states that where there are conflicts the most restrictive provisions apply. Then pg 141 and 142 were the attachments of the neighborhood plan highlighted in yellow by the city 12 units per acre and LIMITED commercial use due to problems with traffic ingress and egress to the site.

To those who are wondering about the mediation - yes it is ongoing and yes we are hopeful for a positive result. Yes all parties are still at the table and working hard.

Should mediation not be successful, we all seemed destined to arm-wrestle in court - with appeals and all - We may not know the outcome for many, many years.

Karen Levenson

On Behalf of GMA Advocates Alarmed at Unplanned, Uncoordinated, Incompatible Piecemeal Development