Holmes Point tree ordinance: important meeting at Planning Commission on Thursday Aug 24

Holmes Point tree ordinance: important meeting at Planning Commission on Thursday Aug 24

Dear Finn Hill Neighbors: For all of you who came to DennyFest on Sunday, thanks for joining us at O.O. Denny Park — and if you stood in line waiting for food, thank you for your patience!

Looking forward, we’re alerting you to several important meetings about the neighborhood plan and Holmes Point Overlay ordinance coming up in the next few days and weeks. We urge you take advantage of these opportunities to participate in the City’s process for finalizing recommendations on the neighborhood plan and the HPO. The Planning Commission and the City Council will make decisions this fall that will affect the future of Finn Hill for decades to come. Your input can make a difference in the policies they adopt.

Planning Commission, Thursday, August 24 – 7pm at City Hall, 123 Fifth Avenue (downtown Kirkland). The Planning Commission will review the Holmes Point Overlay ordinance and  recommendations from the City staff for future street and pedestrian connections on Finn Hill. The meeting agenda and the staff memo are available online. The meeting will be particularly important with regard to the HPO, which is the tree preservation ordinance for the Holmes Point area – essentially, all of Finn Hill west of Juanita Drive. The staff is presenting specific recommendations to the Commission for amending the HPO. The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance supports many of the staff’s recommendations, including proposals for requiring developers to present tree retention plans before breaking ground on a project, concentrating protected natural vegetation areas in subdivisions, and strengthening fines against violations of the HPO.

However, FHNA has expressed concerns that the staff proposals don’t do enough to ensure that the tree canopy in Holmes Point will be protected in the face of ongoing development. We’d like to see a 60% canopy for residential areas of Holmes Point (a goal that American Forests says is achievable). We are preparing a detailed response to the staff recommendations, which we will post on the FHNA website by Wednesday. We’ll send you an alert when it is ready for your review. In the meantime, we urge you to attend the meeting and speak to the Commission about the importance of protecting our tree canopy. If you can’t attend (or don’t want to speak at the meeting), you can write to the Commissioners as well: planningcommissioners@kirklandwa.gov.

You don’t need to be an expert on tree retention ordinances to make an impact – the essential thing is to tell the Commission that you value tree preservation.

Another Finn Hill item on the agenda concerns vehicular and pedestrians of streets and trails. The staff memo includes a list of proposed connections and a map showing their location. If you have views on whether these connections, which would be made as residential development progresses, are a good idea or a bad one, you should let the Commission know how you feel.

City Council, Tuesday, September 5 – 7pm at City Hall. The City Council will hold a public hearing on emergency implementation of Integrated Development Plan requirements for new developments in the Holmes Point area. The Integrated Development Plan process obligates builders to submit tree retention plans and make them available for public comment before work begins on any site. The Master Builders Association is expected to oppose this requirement. A strong showing of support from Holmes Point residents will be influential in convincing Council members to retain the IDP obligation.

Community meeting on Finn Hill neighborhood plan — September 7, St. John Vianney Church, 12600 84th Avenue NE (just south of Carl Sandburg Elementary). Planning Department staff will present an overview of the neighborhood plan to community residents.  This will be a good chance to understand how all of the elements of the proposed plan fit together and what needs to happen before a final plan is adopted.

More meetings will follow the foregoing sessions. The schedule that has been recommended by the Planning Department staff is as follows:

• Planning Commission, Thursday, September 14 – Public hearing on neighborhood plan and associated code amendments and rezones of residential density regulations• City Council, Tuesday, October 3 – Study session on neighborhood plan

• Planning Commission, Thursday, November 9 – Deliberations on neighborhood plan

• Planning Commission, Monday, December 12 – Approval of neighborhood plan recommendations to City Council

Please take some time to participate in these discussions. The ability we have to shape government decisions that affect our daily lives is an important right and we hope you’ll exercise that right fully.

Scott Morris

President, Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance

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