City Council to Act on Rezone of Juanita Drive Properties – Tuesday, December 11

At its next meeting — on Tuesday, December 11, at 7:30pm — the City Council will act on a Planning Commission recommendation to rezone several properties on the western side of Juanita Drive where it intersects with Holmes Point Drive (just above the Juanita Woodlands) and 122nd Place (running between the Shell Station and the 76 Station/Village Mart).

The proposed zoning amendment affects two vacant parcels owned by Jeff Howard, a developer, between the Sinclair town homes and Fire Station 25, as well as the properties now occupied by Fire Station 25 and the single story office building adjacent to the Juanita Woodlands. Mr. Howard’s parcel next to the Sinclair homes is zoned RMA 2.4, which permits residential multi-family housing (up to 18 units per acre). Mr. Howard’s other parcel, next to the fire station, is zoned BNA, which also permits multi-family housing but requires retail space on the ground floor. The BNA zoning also applies to the fire station land office building parcels and is part of the Holmes Point Business District, which includes the Shell station and the Village Mart/76 station/Plaza Garcia shops. (The Holmes Point Business District and is one of two business districts on Finn Hill; the other business district encompasses the QFC/Inglewood shopping area.)

Mr. Howard asked the city in 2010 to replace the BNA zoning on his parcel next to the fire station, arguing that this parcel is not well sited for retail. Mr. Howard has said that he anticipates that “cottage-style” housing will be built on his vacant lots (with no retail).

The city’s planning staff has suggested that both of the Howard properties and the fire station and office building parcels be re-designated as PRA 2.4, which allows multi-family residential development (up to 18 units per acre, like RMA 2.4) and also allows – but does not require – retail and professional office space. The Planning Commission agreed with the PRA 2.4 43commendation at its meeting on November 15.

Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, FHNA submitted a letter to the Commission noting Finn Hill’s zoning map should not be changed in the absence of a neighborhood plan. While FHNA did not express an opinion on the merits of the Planning Department’s proposed zoning changes, its letter asked the Commission to defer action on the proposal in order to give neighbors an opportunity to assess the significance of eliminating the current BNA zoning, which would cut the size of the Holmes Point Business Area  in half. The Commissioners recognized that Finn Hill needs a neighborhood plan, but they voted to recommend the proposed rezone to the Council on the grounds that the Council had directed the Commission to present a specific proposal for the properties by the end of the year and that the rezone would likely be ratified even if a neighborhood assessment of the business district could be undertaken.

FHNA has contacted Council members to reiterate the points that it made in its letter to the Planning Commission – i.e. that zoning changes should not be made until a neighborhood plan has been adopted and that Finn Hill residents should have an opportunity to comment on plans for the Holmes Point Business District before BNA zoning in the area is replaced with PRA zoning.

If you would like to express your own views regarding the proposed rezoning decision, you can contact Council members by emailing citycouncil@kirklandwa.gov or you can testify at the Council meeting on the 11th. The meeting will begin at 7:30pm and will be held in Council chambers at City Hall, 123 Fifth Avenue, in downtown Kirkland.

A copy of the zoning recommendations that will be considered by the City Council can be viewed here: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/Assets/City+Council/Council+Packets/121112/11a_NewBusiness.pdf. The sections relevant to the Howard amendment request appear at pages 4 and 175 of the recommendations. A copy of FHNA’s letter to the Planning Commission can be found on p. 184.

Previous posts on this website also provide background information about the rezoning proposal.

UPDATE: Council passed the Howard PAR with a 5-2 vote. You can watch the presentation and their deliberation by clicking the link here. The presentation begins at time stamp 2:06.

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