The Kirkland City Council just slapped a 6 month building moratorium on a developer who is trying to build a multifamily unit on Lake Street South. The developer is a nice man named Mr. Lobsang Dargey and his project is called Potala Village. The original project included 143 apartment units and many "green" pluses like a rooftop garden. But the neighbors squawked so Mr. Dargey scaled back his plans.
He saw the writing on the wall and decided to ask for no variances for his building to prevent the derailment of his project. That did not work. Neighbors who's views would be blocked and who's lives would be impacted by increased parking and traffic from the project put on a full-court press. They were quite successful in persuading the council -- all seven of them -- to vote for a building moratorium on his property, which is zoned as BN (there is only one other property in the city with this zoning and that property is in South Rose Hill). Talk about spot zoning!
Mr. Dargey has changed his plans again and now he wants to build only 115 condominiums instead of 143 apartments. Will that help out his case? Not likely… stopping developments is what Kirkland does best!
The question I have is, What did this developer do wrong?
He planed to build within the limits of the existing zoning and follow all building codes.
He asked for no variances.
He offered to build the Eastside's first LEED Silver multifamily structure.
He is adding density to Kirkland -- precisely what City Hall, King County, and the GMA want.
He met with concerned citizens about the project to try to find compromise.
He changed his plans to address some of the issues neighbors had.
None of this was enough. Neighbors appealed and hired lawyers to threaten city hall.
If Mr. Dargey is acting in accordance with city zoning and if he is abiding by the existing rules, why is he under attack? If anyone is seeking fault, then who is it? The BN zoning allows for high-density development, within lower-density neighborhoods. If you don't like that fact, then you should not have moved in next door. Buyer beware, they say.
The last thing Kirkland needs is word to spread that it is instituting another building moratorium. Welcome to Kirkland, we're open for business… as long as no one complains! Please don't mind the building moratorium as you trip on the broken sidewalks and pass the empty storefronts.
Gladys, you can't help yourself! Always on the side of the developer! Potala is an atrocity. Here we have this great neighborhood, wonderful views,
reasonable traffic flow and you support everything opposite to what makes this part of kirkland so wonderful.
It is about time the city council stood up for the rights of the average citizen. 115 condos? You gotta be kidding me. How this ever got so far is unbelievable. If the city staff got it wrong, which they did, bureaucrats, what did you expect!? The city council represents us, the citizens and it is about time they stood up for us.
One of the great charms of kirkland is the many great views we have. Your uninformed babble minimizes that attribute and as usual takes the side of the developer who cares only about maximizing his profit, the neighbors be damned.
I try to give you the benefit of the doubt but this time you have gone too far. So what if there is a moratorium. We need to fix the zoning codes. Don't neighboring property owners have rights too? Don't they have a right to have roads which are not failing from excess traffic? Don't they have a right to lobby their representatives on the council? What did the neighbors do to deserve this treatment?
The real question is, What did the neighbors do wrong?
Why are you defending the developer so strongly? That is the untold story and I challenge you to disclose the source of your so called facts.
[box style="rounded" border="full"](un)common sense is a column featuring personal views on issues from around town as seen through the eyes of these long-time Kirkland residents.[/box]