Your Valentine Questionnaire

Your Valentine Questionnaire

Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends: The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (FHNA) is kicking off a campaign to create a Finn Hill neighborhood plan for the near future, as well as a longer-range 2050 plan.

As you know, the City of Kirkland developing a city-wide “Comprehensive Plan” — how it will accommodate the State’s mandates for growth of population and jobs. In order to contribute to this process, FHNA wants our own grassroots effort to provide some detailed analysis of what you really want for Finn Hill. 

We’re starting with this questionnaire and we would love to get your input. Consider it a way of sending a little Valentine (‘tis the season) to your own neighborhood.

First, get yourself a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine, and sit down to think about your quality of life as a resident of Finn Hill. Talk with your family, ponder. Then, send us your answers to these three questions. (Consider about three points per answer – but add more if you like.)


  • What do you love about Finn Hill? (why you chose to live here)


  • What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world? (your concerns, fears)


  • In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years? (Paint us a picture of your ideal.)


Here are some topics you might want to consider: 

  • Finn Hill Community Character
  • Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
  • Land Use and Zoning for new housing
  • Commercial and Residential development in a few dense “city-centers.”
  • Transportation into and through our neighborhoods using roads, public transit, bikes
  • Connectivity via foot trail among centers of population and activity
  • Public Safety and Services – Police, Fire
  • Utilities –electric, gas, water, sewer, street lights, waste management
  • Jobs and Economic Development


Please send your answers by Valentines Day, February 14 by one of these means:


  • Reply by email to
  • Add your comment below
  • Go to  our Facebook page FinnHillAlliance and post your response there.


We’ll report back on what we hear. And we’ll also provide the responses to the City on February 19 at its Comp Plan/neighborhood plan forum for the Finn Hill  and Juanita neighborhoods. We encourage you to attend that event. It starts at 7 pm at the Mormon Chruch off Juanita Drive on 132nd St. More details are available here on the FHNA website.

We hope you have some fun with this little survey, and we hope to hear from you!



Scott Morris
Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance – President
(formerly Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance| 2

PO Box 682,
Kirkland WA 98083

FHNA Logo For Posts

21 Responses to “Your Valentine Questionnaire”

  1. Katy Cook says:

    1. What do you love about Finn Hill? Feels much more remote from Seattle than it is – so many trees! Peaceful. Walking trails in the Juanita Woodlands.

    2. What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world? (your concerns, fears) Difficulty making left turns onto Juanita Drive, Pedestrian safety, Commuting traffic leaving the hill in the morning and returning in the evening.

    3. In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years? (Paint us a picture of your ideal.) A neighborhood coffee shop with seating – maybe in the QFC plaza or near Plaza Garcia. Less aggressive driving on Juanita Drive. Maintain the public parks and trails.

  2. Janice, Finn Hill Resident says:

    1. What do I love about Finn Hill? Many years ago, my Husband and I were looking at houses. We had looked at 13 different houses that were in our price range, selected by school, church, etc. Then in August, everyone was home from vacation. The sun came out, kids and dogs were out playing in the street, parents were watering their lawns and checking their mailboxes. Birds all over singing. The park and roads in our neighborhood are popular with the stroller groups. They were out also admiring shrubs and flowers and no traffic.

    The house was a “ fix me upper’, the downstairs was unfinished but it had two bathrooms and potential for four bedrooms. It is on a qtr. Acre and the back yard is totally fenced. The neighborhood has had several block barbecues. My kids walked to school and to the park. I would hold scout meetings in my wreck room and the backyard was big enough for a regulation fire pit and two scout troops with tents. I was lucky enough to have an assistant leader for a couple of years who could sing and play the guitar. We used to sing songs and roast marshmallows. Lots of outdoor cooking and field trips.

    Not many families are lucky enough to have such a nice place to raise their kids, even if they can afford a nice house. I would hope to help preserve and create good environments for parents to raise and educate their kids. Housing on all levels of affordability, green places to play, good schools, wooded parks, churches and neighborhood located stores. Also many people who live on Finn Hill are involved in keeping the area nice.

    2. Urban blight worries me. Dwellings crowded together, trees and green areas diminished, roads

    3. Wildest dream for Finn Hill? Several. The Seminary building at the park becomes a cultural/educational center with a museum. All the waterfront property owners become enlightened and convert their shoreline into natural habitats. So many trees and shrubs on the hill that you can’t see the roads from the air. We get an award for runoff water treatment and fish return to the streams.

  3. Linda, Finn Hill Resident says:

    What do I love about Finn Hill?
    •We’re not tied into a bridge – relatively easy access to Seattle, North, and Eastside.
    •Number of parks, trails, and sport fields for kids and adults.
    •Larger than normal lots (for us – we’ve been here awhile) with mature trees.

    What worries you about the future of Finn Hill?
    •Concerned that new zoning regulations may increase population density too much.
    •Prefer to keep businesses together and not encroaching in established single family home areas.
    •Traffic increase with bridge tolls.
    •Loss of open space, parks, trails, and accessibility of St. Edwards Park, Big Finn Hill Park and associated trails.

    What would I like Finn Hill to look like in future?
    •Recognized as a stable, sought after community (Laurelhurst, Ballard, Maple Leaf,etc.)
    •Would like to maintain and increase community activities such as the Kenmore free concert series at St. Edwards Park (it’s nice that something like this is offered in Kirkland, Bothell, and Kenmore so it makes it easier for people to attend). Maybe some city cooperation for joint activities like this. Same idea for farmer’s markets, Denney Park picnic, etc.
    •Better public transportation, especially to help seniors stay here.
    •Bicycle paths along major arterials that make it safer for both bikers and automobiles.
    •More neighborhood restaurants.

  4. Jan, Finn Hill Resident says:

    I know this wouldn’t initially be popular, but I would love it if Holmes Point Dr. could be a one way street to make it safer for bikers and walkers and drivers! I would love this area to be a place where neighbors and visitors could come to enjoy the trails, the waterfront and the windy, hilly roads.

    At the top of the hill–I would like to see many small restaurants, coffee shops all with a plaza for people to sit, drink coffee, and people watch. This area should be a destination for people to put their kayaks in the water, exercise and have fun–more of a vacation spot.

    Power lines should be underground. Cell coverage should be improved.

  5. David & Esther Fleming says:

    1) What do we like about Finn Hill.

    We like being close to Seattle and the availability of world class performing arts as well as other cultural and sporting facilities. We are also close to other cities which gives us excellent choices for shopping and restaurants.

    We have a lovely house with good lake views and within easy reach of good walks, golf and Denny Park. Being in a maritime zone we do not suffer extremes of weather, either hot or cold. We are close to good skiing, water sports areas and hiking. The crime rate is low. Generally the people in the neighbourhood are pleasant and friendly.

    2) What concerns about the future?

    Losing views (mountains, lakes, sunrises, sunsets etc) with the excessive population of trees and their remorseless growth. Too many large trees also endanger lives, with power outages, falling on cars, properties, houses and roads. Trees also provide a cover for some criminal elements of society. There must be a happy medium somewhere, at present there is not, nor is there a sign of one in the future.

    Lack of master plan for development, which may result in excessively high density housing development throughout the whole area, with the consequent excessive traffic, a gradual paucity of local facilities for the increased population and a general degradation of the whole area.

    3) What would we like to see in 20 – 100 years time.

    Local authorities with the resources and abilities to create a modern safe environment for the 21st century as well as being visually attractive, e.g. roads with sidewalks, street lighting, underground cabling this would all enhance safety, and eventually reduce maintenance costs. Realistic policy for control of trees, which at present are in danger of degrading the environment in numerous respects.

  6. Phil says:

    Love: views, green, parks, people, schools, proximity to lake
    Concerns: building density too high for new construction, too many kids per teacher in school, too much traffic. It already takes 20 -30 min to get down the hill in the morning which is ridiculous for a suburban location like this. The city needs to stop issueing these building permits for eight new houses to replace one old one with out adding roads and school capacity. Juanita drive needs a third lane and the crossing at walgreens a tunnel or roundabout. In short we need fewer houses and better infrastructure.
    Dream: keep it the way it is today, we dont need the urban sprawl, downtoan kirkland can have that, that’ s for high density building. Would be great to have more stores (trader joes?) and restaurants down at juanita village.

  7. Jaime Lusardo says:

    What do you love about Finn Hill? (why you chose to live here)

    Love Finn Hill’s connection to nature and the lake as well as proximity to Kirkland amenities. It is also very affordable relative to other areas close to lake in Kirkland.

    What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world? (your concerns, fears)

    Increased density without thought to infrastructure. I would like to see bike lanes and raised sidewalks on all major streets leading onto Finn Hill i.e. Juanita Drive, 132nd St, etc.

    In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years? (Paint us a picture of your ideal.)

    Twenty years from now when my son drives home from college he will pass Juanita Elementary and wind up 132nd street and through a roundabout, where there is currently a 4 way stop that backs up at 5pm. In the center of the roundabout the ‘Welcome to Finn Hill sculpture’ would be decorated for a 12th man celebration. Realizing he needs to pick up flowers for mom, he drives along 141st street, notices people walking with reusable bags in hand, to QFC and a few guys he knew from high school running on the repaired weed free sidewalks where neighbors had cut back their shrubs to ensure full use of sidewalk. He smiled as he remembered helping with that project on Finn Hill neighborhood days in advance of the annual Finn Hill festival. At home he’d dust off his old mountain bike to go for a long ride using the bike lane on Juanita Drive.

    In summary:
    o Raised sidewalks for pedestrian on all significant roads
    o Bike lanes on all roads leading up onto Finn Hill
    o Roundabout at 132nd 4 way stop
    o Welcome to Finn Hill signage
    o Sculpture similar to cow in downtown Kirkland that can be decorated to suit our community whimsy
    o Weekly summer gathering at OO Denny Park like concerts in the park, but not to be in competition with St Ed’s summer concerts
    o A welcome to the neighborhood packet – or website leverage neighborhood site? – that details trails, parks, etc. Finn Hill has many hidden gems including connecting trails that aren’t obvious
    o Sidewalk days where neighbors come together to clear sidewalks and ensure their shrubs aren’t blocking sidewalks. I frequently use 141st when walking my son to preschool and I’ve realized the sidewalk is wider than it appears its just in great disrepair and shrubs in some places have overgrown and taken half the sidewalk. This road is particularly well used by pedestrians because it connects to QFC stores.

  8. David says:

    What I like about Finn Hill:
    Finn Hill is an oasis in the urban makeup of the east side. It’s a pleasant contrast to the heavy concentration of cars, people bogged down by to overcrowding. It’s a place to relax after work. On weekends it’s a destination for individual cyclists and clubs from surrounding cities and neighborhoods. It’s a place where wild life like deer, owls, raccoon’s, coyotes can be found if you’re willing to look and listen. You can still hear bird-song and owl hoots over the noise of traffic. It a place where trails heads still have a sense of mystery and inviting make up to them. It’s a place where commercialization is held in check by people with a love for green spaces.

    Not enough partnering with surrounding communities, schools, Bastyr, cities, county, local business, cycle clubs, running or race organizers to ensure we develop a vibrant place to visit. These groups should be formally invited to this conversation.
    Traffic that paralyzes Finn Hill residents due to poor coordination.
    Derelict vehicles, boats on private and public property.
    Light pollution around Finn Hill Park and along Juanita Drive.
    Dog owners that don’t pick up after their pets or allocating wildlife habitat to another dog park.
    Unwanted furniture left on the side of the road with the word “Free” tagged to it.
    Fireworks ban not enforced.
    Mountain biker erosion to surrounding vegetation, streams. A forest pass permit maybe in order (currently parking in QFC lot).
    I’m concerned that widening Juanita Drive may be the only idea put forward to ease congestion, without first determining why so many vehicles are transiting the drive area. Most all are single occupant drivers all possibly going to same general area. Is anyone studying this? Where is the data?
    Noisy sea planes on Lake Washington. Yes, we can hear them on Finn Hill. Motor cycle noise.
    Finn Hill (Juanita Drive) is just viewed as a motor speed way or a major noisy, congested exhausted filed transit zone. Wider roads are not the answer.
    Zoning that does not take street access into account and its impact to existing bus zones creating a choke point for public transportation.
    Relaxed enforcement of laws on Juanita Drive i.e. speeding, tail gating, shoulder driving, running stop signs all come to mind.
    Not maintaining the 35mph speed limit. Feels like we take our lives into our hands each time we access or exit Juanita Drive.

    I think it’s just as important to look at Finn Hill today and ask How do we not want it to look like in 2, 5 15, 50 years? What would we change today if we could? My first thought is Aurora Ave (Old Hwy 99). Unsightly power and telephone lines with cell phone towers. What do we want our children and grandchildren to see in the coming years?

    Wildest Dreams:
    All power lines placed under ground. This would eventual create a forest canopy over Juanita drive and stop the unnatural tree shapes we see today from constant lopsided pruning to reduce downed lines. I’d like to see a natural forest canopy over the road like Market Street.
    Large creek culverts to allow wild life to move back and forth while avoiding the road above.
    Above the road sky bridges for small and even larger animal to cross. (See the Nutty Narrows Bridge, Longview, WA).
    Designated “NO Idle Zones” for all business, schools, and colleges.
    A walk or bike to school safe zones of ½ mile to reduce the gridlock for Metro or anyone just moving about at those times of the day. The congestion encourages people to break the law to avoid waiting 20 minutes as parents line all roadways leading up the school..
    Juanita Drive bike safe by pass islands. The Bridle Trails has some great examples where a cyclist, pedestrians can feel safe near left turning vehicles.
    Row boat crossing from Sand Point to Denny Park for BBQ or a day in woods. As I understand it this was an activity some time ago when families would row from Seattle to Goat Hill for the day or weekend, to camp out. Families would spend as much time as possible here while those needing to go to work would row back to Seattle then back again on Friday.
    Park art.
    One way streets to reduce congestion at key times of the day. Locals will find a new way, preferable a designated city planned route. Only electric vehicle zone.

    Is there a rapid response forest fire fighting plan in place? Will the water pressure be sufficient? Does the city of Kirkland have agreements with surrounding Cities such as Bothell, Redmond, Bellevue, Kenmore, and Lake Forest park? Home are in heavily forested areas and in some cases very steep slopes. The Oakland hills fire back in the 90’s is a good example on a number of levels.

    What is the character of Finn Hill? Is it Norwegian, Finnish, Northwestern. Hobbits, Klingons? One person said gargoyles, I like that the best. This is a good time to develop a theme that attracts people. I like to think of Leavenworth, WA in 1962 adopting a Bavarian Village theme generating tourism.

  9. Katherine, Finn Hill Resident says:

    What I love about Finn HIll?

    This is an affordable, comfortable and quiet neighborhood with a great community feel to it. Nothing showy, but down to earth. Off the arterials, the traffic is pretty calm and it’s walkable, for the most part. We’ve raised our family here and I like the hometown feel we have here. We love the trees – looking out over the landscape, we see maples and firs, tall giants that give me respite from the city and the pavement. We have unopened corridors of green – which could become walking connections between isolated housing groups – that’s an opportunity for the next section.

    What worries are there about the future of Finn Hill?

    Potential for unaccustomed land use changes – and the associated traffic/busy-ness changes that could come with it.

    Worried that we might see a shift from the green/treed environment – without considering the options.

    Worried that congestion (cars) will continue to grow along the arterials without a fix that provides for all travel modes – Juanita Drive and 100th are two key arterials that need attention. Think carefully about the future – but don’t just ignore what needs a fix. I don’t think it’ll go away.

    Finn Hill of the Future:

    · Walkway connections along all streets and between all neighborhoods/housing groups – use the greenways (gently) – make it possible to walk everywhere, without big out-of-the way routes

    · Accommodate the cars, alongside sidewalks/walkways, alongside bikeways – expect the slow traffic movement on local collectors and neighborhood streets, make the arterials work, but with reasonable speed and connections.

    · Good transit service, all day, with connections to centers. Walking connections from every neighborhood to transit – good stops, with shelters, short waits, any time of day.

    · Healthy business district/community with professional offices, retail, services – with great walkability, bikability and transit connections as well as auto access.

    · Integrate trees/landscaping into the business district – bring in pocket parks, too.

    · Make park space available within 1/4 mile of all homes – need space to throw a frisbee, play catch, sit in the grass and on a bench to visit with neighbors. I love the woodlands – AND I want a nearby pocket park or a pathway through the drainage/wild area that wasn’t developable when the homes went in. We all need some connection to nature.

    · Juanita Drive – reasonable arterial for autos, great space for walkers and bikers, excellent day-long transit service with classy bus stops and shelters, safe corridor with manageable access to and from properties and side streets.

    · 100th Ave NE – five lane arterial with sidewalks, landscaped buffers, good side-street connections and safe for all travel modes, including all-day transit service between Kirkland and Bothell. Landscaped medians with crosswalks and active signs – to provide connections between east and west sides of this major arterial – re-craft the bonds between the neighborhoods. Serve a reasonable amount of traffic – under the conditions that this also serves the neighborhoods, not just the commuters. Make it safe and usable throughout the day – and with a living, breathing community along it. Reduce the number of driveways serving the commercial properties – combine driveways with a better managed access. Make it as attractive as possible – invite the pedestrians and cyclists and the bus riders – who live here.

    · Enhance the business district along 100th and at 132nd – help it translate from car-oriented to community-oriented.

  10. Dianna, Finn Hill Resident says:

    My husband and I have lived on Finn Hill over 25 years and in enjoyed the small community, close to the city feeling. We Have met some wonderful people of all ages and seen the ever changing landscape of “the hill”.

    If I could bring something to Finn Hill, it would a meeting place, where our older adults could gather and enjoy a cup of coffee and time with a friend. As the focus on our aging community develops, we can address some of their needs, like home repair and quality of life.

    In addition to our aging community, the young families could benefit from our wonderful parks with paved trails for walking and strolling or a number of activities.

    Keeping The Hill a community that offers the tranquil feeling, but closeness to resources would be the best plan!

  11. Teresa, Finn Hill Resident says:

    What do you love about Finn Hill?

    • The unique environment. The mix of forest and wildlife. The way DCNA took care of things.

    What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world?

    • That the wild places will go away for trails and sidewalks and bike paths. We have three main parks with trails and bike paths. Keeping the passive open space we have and acquiring more passive open space would be great. Wildlife is getting squeezed and needs a place to go.
    (your concerns, fears)

    In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years?

    • The same as it is now with the exception of a safer Juanita drive and wildlife corridors to connect the wild life paths.

  12. Francesca Lyman says:

    What do you love about Finn Hill?

    Finn Hill is one of the few neighborhoods close to Seattle that still has all the wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest – I love its forests and trails, its lakeshore, and wildlife, which are extraordinary, as are the people who love this place.

    When our family first moved here, recruited by a large software firm, we picked this neighborhood out of many others, after falling in love with O.O. Denny Beach.

    • What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world?

    The upturn in the economy is a good thing, but I am very concerned about the rush to develop Holmes Point and Finn Hill with new housing subdivisions, as this newly annexed area has become such a hot new real-estate ticket.

    Many of the neighborhoods of Kirkland had their forests cut long ago, but this is one of the few that still has second-growth and even some original old growth forest vestiges, making it incredibly unique. So I fear that encouraging the piecemeal development of many of the last patches of green space without careful planning would be a shame. It would hurt the lovely character and rustic feel of the houses and old country lanes but also nibble away at the canopy of our forest, which is pretty much irreplaceable.

    I’m also worried about the zoning density that Kirkland inherited from King County, which could allow– perhaps even mandate – townhouse or apartment complexes to be crammed in quite densely amid single family homes. Just go on Zillow and you find these; some are before the city planners right now. I’m also worried that new housing developments can be built with such small setbacks between them.

    That’s why discussing and creating an agreed-upon neighborhood plan is so important. In order to accommodate new population, I’d rather see denser growth placed along major transportation routes, in mixed-use planned ‘village centers’ in similar fashion to Juanita’s little shopping center, with walkable streets, shops, and apartments—only on a smaller scale, with more of a ‘country village’ feel. That kind of development could also accommodate the growing aging population.

    Unfortunately Finn Hill’s walkability, compared to other neighborhoods, is quite poor. Finn Hillians are no different from most Americans living in suburbs; they’re trapped behind the wheels of their cars. They’re just angrier because the traffic has grown so quickly in recent years with almost no thought for creating more non-car commutes possible through transit, carpools, bikes, or connections.

    While I don’t like the idea of high density high rises, I could see mixed use developments placed in some areas close to schools and shopping, like, say the old failed ‘zombie’ shopping mall at the Albertsons/Rite Aid parking lot. Whatever new developments take place ought to be inspired by the free thinking and independence of this area….including the pockets of latter day Secessionists from Kirkland!

    • In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years?

    Finn Hill could retain its rustic character by having pockets of ‘country village’ developments along its major corridors. In the very near future, I’d love to see total “Flip the Strip” renovations of the rather unattractive, poorly kept-up shopping strips like the ones at the Shell/76 station, or further up, lining Juanita at the QFC. So much could be done to redesign these small retail business districts.

    With a little help, and a facelift or two, is it too much to imagine them developing in a few years’ time into wonderful shopping districts with farmers’ markets, stores and art galleries, and coffee shops?—I’m imagining along the lines of a Langley or Camano Island. Perhaps there could be small veterinary and naturopathic doctor clinics encouraged. These could serve not just our residents but the students of Bastyr and local schools.

    I could also see loosening some of the zoning for single-family housing to allow for commercial establishments that would enhance tor play off he natural resources of the area, like, say eco-resort b&b’s…(rather whimsically, I could imagine perhaps a treehouse resort like Animal Planet Pete Nelson’s in Issaquah) or horse stables, which were here only a decade ago.

    Bring back the funiculars to celebrate the timber history here. Put in a natural history museum or a historical museum with info on the forests and Scandinavian history here.

    What Finn Hill desperately needs are community centers. It has no gathering places apart from its parks and its beachfronts, and the occasional townhall meeting at a local school, and a small handful of local restaurants, mostly chains.

    In my wildest dreams I’d imagine Finn Hillians sitting down and thinking about what’s truly distinctive about this remarkable place where we live—just as we are with this survey, only on a much larger scale.

    Every place has its own local genius. What palm trees are to South Beach, Miami, Douglas firs and Madrones are to this place.

    But what about the hardy hiking spirit of people here, its backyard gardeners, its artists, artisans, bakers, cottage business innovators, writers, musicians, tucked away in the hills and dells?

    We could use so much more information about our local history. It feels like it is inhabited by djinns and wood spirits, but why? A friend and neighbor recently told me that as a kid growing up in Inglewood apartments, she remembers several Native Americans walking down into the forest in full tribal dress, to perform some ritual deep in the forest. She never knew who they were or what it was about. We need to uncover the secret history of this place, which is so rich in story.

    Finn Hill is distinctive for what it is not, not another suburb with pretentious sounding tract subdivisions (although there is one with an ‘e’ attached to it that I can think of!) I just learned that one of the plats was laid out by the original developer of Country Village. So it has a rustic feel for perhaps that reason.

    I think it would be neat to brainstorm about ways the commercial districts could be developed to enrich what we have here rather than turning our commercial zoning into blights on the landscape as they often become.

    Thanks for this opportunity to let me send you my vision for Finn Hill!

  13. Aaron, Finn Hill Resident says:

    What do you love about Finn Hill? (why do you choose to live here)

    ◦ I bought my first house on the east side of Finn Hill in 2007 because of the mountain bike trails in Big Finn Hill park and St Edwards Park and the ability to commute to work in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, or Redmond. Big Finn Hill is the closest natural mountain bike trails to Seattle, and the mountain bike trails are the primary reason I chose to buy a house in Finn Hill over all other neighborhoods in Bellevue, Kirkland, Bothell, Kenmore, and Redmond.

    ◦I bought my next home on the west side of Finn Hill in 2010 to live closer to the mountain bike trails in Big Finn Hill (to make it easier to teach our kids to mountain bike), and raise our children in a semi-rural neighborhood.

    ◦I love that our current neighborhood (upper Denny Creek hill / upper Holmes point) is a destination neighborhood in which people take pride. Many have lived in the neighborhood for decades, and are as passionate about the natural character of the neighborhood as we are.

    ◦The jewel of the Finn Hill neighborhood is the combined preserved green space of O. O. Denny Park, Big Finn Hill Park, Bastyr University, St. Edwards State Park and the extensive multi-use (hike + bike) trail system in these parks.

    ◦ I love the unimproved and wild nature of my neighborhood. We have no streetlights, and it should stay that way. We have no sidewalks, and it should stay that way. We have dirt roads, and it should stay that way. The power goes out when the wind blows, and neighbors get to know each other better as a result.

    2) What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world? (concerns, fears)

    ◦ First and foremost, we need to preserve the natural character of the parks (no selling off parts of it to fire departments, real estate developers, etc). The first, best, and most important step to take to preserve the park is to implement the newly approved King County Big Finn Hill trails plan, as designed by the Big Finn Hill trails committee. This plan was created by a group of concerned Finn Hill residents that represented the two dominant user groups of the trails: walkers and bikers. The plan provides improvements for both user groups, aims to separate the users while keeping the trails multi-use, is based on a series of compromises by both interests, and provides a blueprint of how the trail system should be maintained for decades to come. The trails plan gives King County and volunteer maintenance groups a way to preserve the trail system in a sustainable and stable state rather than letting it continue to evolve via illegal trail building (done by both user groups). As the population of Finn Hill grows and the demand for open space increases, keeping the trails as-per the plan is the best way to preserve the forest, the wildlife, and the character of the park, while providing healthy outdoor fun for walkers, runners, and mountain bikers of all ages.

    ◦ I fear that Kirkland’s standard city building standards will destroy the natural character of our neighborhood. We don’t want sidewalks. We don’t want streetlights. We don’t want paved roads. We want to live in a semi-rural neighborhood that is imperfect, muddy, gets pot holes, and requires carrying a flashlight at night.

    ◦ I’m concerned about increased population density. The new construction is faceless, soulless, and done without a master community plan. It is developer-greed-based building that leaves houses with almost no yard as they pack 4 or 8 houses per acre. The lack of a personal yard robs children of the character-and-creativity-building opportunity to play outside unsupervised.

    ◦ I’m concerned that, as population grows, traffic on and off the plateau will make commuting in any direction impractical.

    3) In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years? (Paint us a picture of your ideal.)

    ◦ Parks

    ◾The Big Finn Hill park trail system would look exactly like it is described in the new King County BFH trails plan. The trails would connect to Bastyr land and St Edwards Park, just as they do today.

    ◾The 3-5 acre McDonald horse farm on the south end of 72nd Ave would be preserved as park land. 1 acre of it would be turned into a nature-themed children’s playground that includes a community shelter/bbq, and the rest would be left wild or planted with native plants such that it could be left as a wild area (and it would segue into O. O. Denny park land). Multi-use (hike + bike) trails would be built from this park to existing O. O. Denny park to get to the lake.

    ◾ The ravine west of 72nd Ave would also become part of O. O. Denny park and include multi-use (bike + hike) trails from 72nd Ave to the lake.

    ◦ Juanita drive crossings:

    ◾There would be either a bike-friendly bridge over Juanita drive @ 138th Pl or a bike-friendly tunnel under Juanita drive @ 138th Pl. This will make the playground and ball fields on the east side of BFH walking-accessible to families who live west of Juanita off of 138th Pl.

    ◾There would be a cross-walk at the trail crossing on Juanita drive

    ◾ There would be a cross-walk to cross Juanita at 132nd St NE

    ◾ The path from Juanita west to 132nd St NE would be a bike-friendly switchback path, a foot/bike wooden bridge, then a similarly bike-friendly path on the west side. This would allow children who live in the neighborhood west of Juanita to ride their bikes or walk to school (potentially with their parents) at the middle school and/or carl sandburg. This would *not* include a bridge, as is/was being proposed by the fire station planning committee for emergency access. This area needs a trail, not a road.

    ◦ Bike and train commuting infrastructure

    ◾ In my wildest dreams, bicycle commuting would be as much a first-class member of city planning as car commuting. This is the case in the city of Davis, California, and I encourage all Kirkland city planners (and FHNA board members) to take a field trip to Davis, California to see what a bike-commuting city can look/feel like. In Davis, it is possible to ride from one end of the city to the other almost entirely off-street. There is an entire “second grid” of paved bike paths that has its own set of bridges, tunnels, and maps separate from the car streets. Every new housing development is required to extend the bike paths, just as new homes must extend the streets. Please, please go visit Davis, CA, tour the city on a bike for a few days, and experience what a well-planned, healthy, active community can feel like.

    ◾ In my wildest dreams, I want to be able to ride my bike from my house on Finn Hill to downtown Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Kirkland, Redmond, or Bellevue without ever riding on city streets. These paved bike paths support multi-speed users including high-speed bike commuters and slower speed families with children via marked lanes. The bike paths are maintained with the same car as streets (leaf blowing, street sweeping, pavement repairs, etc).

    These bike paths should connect to a subway train system with stops along the I-405 corridor and all major eastside downtowns. The train system allows bikes on it, and quickly carries passengers to Seattle, Tacoma, SeaTac airport, North to Everett/Lynnwood, to Woodinville, Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah, etc.

    ◦ Improved/attractive public and commercial space.

    ◾In my wildest dreams, the shopping center at Juanita and 141st (QFC, etc) would be an attractive (e.g., facades and/or modern designed buildings, open places to sit/walk, get a beer together after a good mountain bike ride, etc), vibrant shopping area that includes coffee shops and other community-building establishments. While there are good businesses there today, the building is an eye-sore, there is no communal/outdoor space, and it does not give the sense that this is a community people are proud of and treasure.

    ◦ Population density

    •In my wildest dreams, we could go back to homes being built on 1 acre lots, the subdividing of back yards could be undone, and people’s homes would reflect the passion for nature that brought them to Finn Hill.

    • Sadly, this is the most unrealistic of all of my dreams, and all we can do is try to stop further over-building and push for zoning that preserves yard/land space for each residence.

  14. Scott Morris says:

    1) What do I love about Finn Hill?

    · It has terrific parks that consist primarily of woodlands and it has interesting ravines, slopes, and streams

    · It’s still pretty quiet and has a semi-rural feel

    · It has a mixture of expensive and affordable housing

    · Its residents seem to care about their environment and are committed to maintaining the neighborhood’s natural beauty

    2) What I fear:

    · More housing crammed into increasingly smaller lots in the same unimaginative patterns that we’ve seen in American suburbia for the last 60 years.

    · More congestion on the few arterials that provide access to the neighborhood

    · A loss of the tree canopy that defines our neighborhood, and an eventual loss of the residents’ pride of place that has protected Finn Hill from succumbing to suburban homogenization

    3) What would I love to see:

    · The preservation of the remaining woods on the eastern slope of Finn Hill

    · Streams that have clean water and fish

    · A long-term campaign to knit the neighborhood’s parks and open space easements together by a ring of paths that would allow a resident to circle the crown and shoulders of the hill on foot or bicycle without having to traverse typical suburban housing developments

    · A sense that the hill consists of a network of parks that naturally link together – put differently, it would be wonderful if residents felt that Finn Hill’s housing, streets and shops were set amidst woods and parks as strongly as we feel today that our parks are sprinkled amidst a carpet of homes, roads, and commercial development

    · A strong network of pedestrian and cycling routes that invite residents to walk or cycle to local schools, stores and restaurants instead of hopping into their cars for every errand

    · A vibrant, compact community center where the QFC exits today and a smaller commercial area at the intersection of Juanita Drive and Holmes Point Drive

    · An efficient, low-cost form of public transit, perhaps using an Uber or a community-based model, for trips from home to schools or local shops and also for trips down the hill to more traditional forms of public transportation

    · Creative solutions for housing: high-density housing around the main community center, clustered cottage-style homes with thoughtfully designed common areas, large plots of land for single family homes (provided that they preserve the tree canopy), as well as areas with traditional detached homes on smaller lots – to preserve affordability

  15. Teri, Finn Hill Resident says:

    1) What do you love about Finn Hill?
    I love the view, the open spaces and green spaces that are left more natural and underdeveloped, and the relative quiet and friendly neighbors. I like that there are neighborhood commercial areas that are smaller “satellites” of business spread throughout Finn Hill. (Juanita drive, Juanita beach, 100th and 132nd)

    2) What worries you about the future of Finn Hill as population grows and we change along with Kirkland and the world?

    I am concerned about the nearly zero lot lines in new housing developments. I am concerned about the lifting of height restriction in single family home neighborhoods such as Finn Hill. I don’t want to see the streets becoming canyons with buildings going higher than they are currently, in Juanita for an example. Having said that, I see opportunity for similar growth in existing sites that are no longer in use i.e. the empty Albertson building on 132nd .

    I am concerned that in the context of Kirkland’s future, there is very little mention of the fact that the population of those over 65 will double by 2050 and that one in five will be over 65 by the year 2030. I am concerned that there is not enough housing being developed for those over 65 with an eye to safety and universal design.

    3) In your wildest dreams, what would you love Finn Hill to look like in twenty, fifty, a hundred years?

    I am 100% for aging in place and hope that Kirkland will be on board with the concept. I would love it if I did not have to leave the community when it no longer makes sense to stay in my home.

    I would like the streets to be safe to walk for seniors, children and every person and ability in between. Particularly, Juanita drive, 76th PL NE, Champagne Point Road and NE 123rd St and Simons Road which would have a wide walking/biking path separated by a curb for increased safety as well as medians, where feasible, and traffic circles in a couple of key spots such as the intersection of 76th PL NE and Holmes Pt Rd.

    Foot trails to connect would include stairs to connect the streets on steepest parts of Finn hill.

    There would be housing over retail in the QFC shopping center on Juanita that would serve as a smaller “city center” or neighborhood center. It would also house a smaller satellite community center.

    The now empty Albertsons on 132nd would be redeveloped and designed for inter-generational co-housing in order to create a desirable community where the residents can successfully age in place. The location is idea for its close proximity to QFC and local shops, Juanita Village, the farmers market, Totem Lake and it is right on the bus line. A successful example is the Daybreak co-housing community in Portland which was designed by Schemata Workshop Inc. in the Overlook neighborhood of North Portland. The close-in urban location means public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants and cafés, and schools are all easily accessible. Values that shaped the design include fostering multigenerational living and integrating with the surrounding neighborhood.
    See the AARP website for more info on award winning livable communities

    Thanks for this opportunity to put my opinion/vision in writing!

    • David says:

      Albertsons is an eye sore but in a great location. Michael’s is bad location with the Casual Dinner.

      Move Michael’s the Casual Dinner idea to the Albertson’s location and reincorporate the Michael’s location into a nature connector to both parks. Street closure events, such as fun runs could be a thing of the past. Coordinated with METRO the 255 bus stop could be incorporated into the stop just 200 feet north. Multiple expensive tax payer cross walks exist to help pedestrians cross safely.

  16. Darlene, Finn Hill Resident says:

    …there was mention of having a dog park in the area. That would be part of my dream…

  17. Jeanette Leach says:

    1) What do I like about Finn Hill?

    I like Finn Hill as it is a green, relatively quiet oasis in the middle of urban and suburban sprawl.

    2) Concerns about the future?

    a) I am very concerned about the health of the forest that is an integral part of the wonderful nature of Finn Hill. The woods (both public and private) are already overrun with invasive plants and without intense sustained efforts we’ll be losing our precious evergreens, alders, maples and others. Parks such as Big Finn, St Ed, and O.O. Denny are being loved to death with more and more trails impacting the health of the root zones of the forest. Our big trees are already dying and the pace will accelerate with proposed increased use and increased trail numbers without concerted efforts to keep the forest healthy.

    b) I am concerned that there is a push to make every trail on the hill a “multi-user trail” with mountain bikes and walkers sharing trails. Because of the tremendous speed difference, this mix use affects the experience of the users on foot dramatically.

    c) I am concerned that Kirkland is pushing to add considerably more residences to Finn Hill, which will increase traffic, noise and change the nature from suburban to urban.

    d) I am concerned that Juanita Drive has become a commuter cut through to avoid tolls on 520. The noise level increased dramatically when 520 started charging tolls.

    3) What would we like to see in 20 – 100 years time.

    a) I would like to see healthy forests throughout the hill, with no invasive species and with young trees sprouting naturally to keep the forests rejuvenating.

    b) I would like to have a number of designated walker only trails in every park, so quiet contemplative walks up and down the steep ravines connected to and in O.O. Denny, through Big Finn and from the Seminary in St. Edwards continue to be available without stress of encountering users on mechanical devices moving far more quickly.

    c) I’d like to see a community center with a couple of restaurants and a community meeting center, rather than simply a big parking lot with businesses on one side.

    d) I would like to have a number of trails where dogs can walk off leash throughout the hill, not a fenced “dog park” but a place where one can go a long off leash walk with a well behaved dog.

    Parks accessible to everyone and parks preserving green space.

    a) Everyone should have a park within 1/4 mile of their home, where they can throw a ball or a frisbee, jump and run, turn cartwheels or contemplate nature by enjoying the ducks on a pond. This could be a small pocket park, as well as taking advantage of what we already have. These parks need to be designed for users of all ages, not simply for children. Parks access is sorely limited in the NE portion of the hill.

    b) the eastern slope preserved as a green natural area (expanding Juanita Heights and preserving the green ravine just south of Albertson’s hill), perhaps with the building turned into a nature center with community meeting rooms. I would keep bikes off the steep slopes.

    c) I’d like to see Finn Hill community have active involvement from those on the eastern side of the hill (down to 100th), and have their needs and desires consider with the rest of the community.

    d) I’d like to see Finn Hill be an area where we can age in place, with appropriate transportation and housing options that are senior friendly.

  18. Kathy Schuler says:

    1) What do I like about Finn Hill?
    I like that I am within walking distance to many trails into the woods. I like that I can put my arms around many trees in all of our woods and not touch my fingertips. I like that I have to bend my head as far back as I can to see the tops of most trees in Finn Hill forests. I like the rugged slopes, fern banked ravines, and the fact that I can take a real walk in a woods vs a walk in a park that is manicured and made from a cookie-cutter park template.

    2) Concerns about the future?
    That our parks are ‘edge parks’ in that they are in a fight to become or stay healthy while coexisting with people. That for generations to come we will have to continue to clear our forests of ivy, blackberry and yellow archangel. That the developers will win and we will continue to see large parcels where one home existed and now 8 to 12 exist. That we have more cement than we have dirt trails and paths. That people no longer have old fashion front yards, they are gone, and homes now are 5 feet from the sidewalk.

    3) What would we like to see in 20 – 100 years time.
    That more people rise up to promote balanced growth on the limited space of Finn Hill. That we have a diversity of events and celebrations from the northeast corner of Finn Hill, to Goat Hill, to Holmes Point and over to the east side of the hill. That we knit together to become one Finn Hill enjoying our diversity, sharing our interests, and preserving our way of life in living with and caring for all things green. That there is a concerted effort to transform the businesses and shopping strips along Juanita Drive into places for people not just cars. So many of the comments so far captured the challenges and presented a vision for a unique Finn Hill that still has the characteristics of its past but wisdom is used to lay the foundation for the future.

  19. Bob Aglow says:

    I love the natural habitat that we live in and thoroughly enjoy the people who live here. The problem is that the woods actually separate us from one another throughout the Winter months. Literally months can go by without seeing neighbors only a few hundred yards away. We are a community but we lack cohesiveness socially. That is why we need TWO, repeat TWO Denny Fests…one at the beginning of the summer and one after Labor day.
    Hot dogs, real dogs, the lake, just chatting. BLOCK PARTY on the Lake. As Pit Bull says(the rapper); Cant Stop the Party!
    Seriously…DO IT.. IT would bring the neighborhood together.

  20. Bob Aglow says:

    To add to my earlier comment re: a call for TWO Denny Fest..(one beginning of Summer, one end)..

    Lots of us, quite frankly, don’t use the park that much once summer is in full swing. No parking….crowding and not to sound exclusionary, not a lot of familiar, local, neighborhood faces….Another reason to enjoy our own park and have a meeting place for neighbors…TWO Parties, even more than two.
    EVERYONE WOULD SHOW…If its an expense issue. HOT DOGS alone would bring em! DO it!