I hope the summer has treated you well and you've enjoyed the range of summer weather. I know I spent a lot of time outdoors and truly enjoyed it.
Schools are back in session (please drive safely and obey the school zone speed limits), so it must be fall and therefore, it's time to get reenergized about our community.
Due to travel conflicts, CHNA will NOT be holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday September 14 - we have postponed the meeting until Tuesday October 12 at 7:00 pm (Via Zoom).
I will send out an agenda and Zoom link in advance of that date.
In the meantime, I want to provide you with information on new topics and some updates on continuing activities that can impact our neighborhood and City at large.
ELECTIONS ARE COMING UP ON NOVEMBER 2
There is still time to register to vote or update your address or other information. Please take advantage of this opportunity to shape our community.
Here is the link King County Elections Home Page - King County
- Four Kirkland City Council positions are on the ballot.
- Continuance of the Houghton Community Council (HCC) is on the ballot, as are all 7 HCC councilmembers (who will be elected if the continuance is approved).
- Other regional and local positions and ballot issues also will be on the ballot.
NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY PROGRAM - 2022 PROJECT IDEAS
Each year the City allocates up to $350,000 available for the Neighborhood Safety Program. Neighborhood Safety Program – City of Kirkland (kirklandwa.gov)
Individual projects can receive up to $50,000. Projects fall into the following categories:
- Bicycle facility: Bike lanes or trails.
- Crosswalks: New crosswalks, improved crosswalk ramps (ADA), crosswalk islands, and rapid flashing beacons.
- Intersection Improvement: Signage, parking, and pedestrian “bump outs.”
- Walkway/Sidewalk and Trail: Gravel trails, steps, curb, traffic delineators, and sidewalks.
- Street Lights: On existing utility poles or installing a light new pole.
Concerns related to traffic calming, cut-through traffic, and sight distance require data collection and a separate public outreach process before traffic calming devices can be selected and implemented. Traffic calming devices include traffic islands, speed cushions, pedestrian “bump outs”, signage, and speed radar signs. Once they have been through this other process and traffic calming changes have been approved, the project will then be eligible to compete for funding through the Neighborhood Safety Program.
Project ideas from each neighborhood are due to the City on December 3. CHNA will be discussing candidate projects in our neighborhood for our application starting at our October 12 meeting and will select projects to submit to the City at our November 9 meeting. Please send us your ideas for potential projects via firstname.lastname@example.org and then join us on October 12 to start the discussion for our neighborhood safety project application.
NORTHEAST RECYCLING AND TRANSFER STATION (NERTS) SITING (Replacement of Houghton Transfer Station)
In 2020, King County's Solid Waste Division started a process for siting a new recycling and transfer station in Northeast King County to replace the aging and limited Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland, which has been operating since the mid-1960s.On August 9th, a second possible site in Woodinville for the new facility was presented to the Siting Advisory Group (SAG). The second Woodinville site is just south of the first site, located on SR 202 about a mile north of the Ste. Michelle Winery.
One of the two Woodinville sites will be carried forward to a formal environmental review, along with two sites in Kirkland. The two Kirkland sites include the existing Houghton Transfer Station (HTS) site (NE 60th east of 116th Avenue NE) and the Houghton Park and Ride lot (NE 70th at 116th Avenue NE). Scoping for the environmental review is scheduled to start in late fall 2021. The environmental documents should be available for public review and comment in 2022.
While the Kirkland sites are not within CHNA's boundaries, the Kirkland sites are immediately to the east of I-405 and could affect traffic, non-motorized travel, land uses, and other elements of the natural and built environment. Accessibility to a transfer station in Northeast King County also will be affected based on which site is ultimately selected.
If you want more information on the siting process and/or environmental review, please see King County's web site - Northeast Recycling & Transfer Station project - King County.
You can use this link to sign up to get notices of meetings and availability of documents on the project - King County, WA (govdelivery.com)
NE 85th STREET STATION AREA PLAN
The City has been considering modifying the land use plan and building heights allowed in the vicinity of the I-405/NE 85th Street Interchange and along NE 85th Street east and west of the interchange. While not directly in our neighborhood, decisions of this scale will affect every neighborhood in the City and the overall look and feel of Kirkland.
The City issued a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (Draft SEIS) in January 2021. The plan is being developed to take advantage of the Sound Transit's Bus Rapid Transit Line on I-405 approved by the voters as part of ST3.Based on significant public input, the City is conducting additional studies related to transportation and the fiscal impacts /community benefits of possible land use changes.
From the City's web site - "The Fiscal Impacts and Community Benefits Study will help us set priorities together- and take a practical approach to maximizing community benefits and the regional transit investment in the Bus Rapid Transit station for years to come. The study will use a range of alternatives narrowed from those in the Draft SEIS. What we learn from the study will help set a preferred direction for the Station Area Plan."
The City's public meeting calendar (Public Meeting Calendar – City of Kirkland (kirklandwa.gov)) shows the City Council being updated on the Fiscal impacts/Community Benefits Study at its October 26 meeting.
For more information please see NE 85th Street Station Area Plan – City of Kirkland (kirklandwa.gov)
TECH CITY BOWL REZONE (Bridle Trails Shopping Center) REZONE
The owners of the Tech City bowling alley site have applied to the City of Kirkland for a rezone of the property to allow more extensive development. No information has been provided on specific uses, including if the bowling alley use will be continued. After some initial presentations to the City's Planning Commission in 2020 and earlier in 2021, the project is tentatively scheduled for the October 14 Planning Commission agenda. The agenda and meeting packet for Planning commission meetings are typically posted about one week in advance of their meeting.
Here is the link to the project applicant's web site: Tech City Bowl Rezone Project (tcbrezone.com)
In June 2018, the City kicked off a process to update the Tree Code (Title 95 of the City Code). After significant discussion, the amendment process was put on hold at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the update process was re-initiated. As part of restarting the code amendment process, City staff have been working with City Council on defining the big picture objectives and framework for the amended code. These include discussions on tree retention and replanting requirements with property development within the City. The code amendment also will address what property owners can and cannot do with trees without any redevelopment of a parcel.
The results of the code amendment may result in more or less flexibility for property owners and /or developers. in addition it will define what level and options for "mitigation" are required under various scenarios. This will affect all of us - either where we live or on adjacent properties.
The City Council is tentatively scheduled to get briefed on and discuss the Tree Code at its meeting on Tuesday October 5. The agenda is typically available on the Friday before the Tuesday meeting.
The City's web page for the TREE CODE AMENDMENT can be accessed using this link - Tree Code Amendments – City of Kirkland (kirklandwa.gov)
ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PLAN
The City of Kirkland is updating the Active Transportation Plan adopted in 2009. Active Transportation Plan – City of Kirkland (kirklandwa.gov)
The first three goals of the Transportation Master Plan:
T-0 Safety: By 2035 eliminate all transportation related fatal and serious injury crashes in Kirkland.
T-1 Walking: Complete a safe network of sidewalks, trails and crosswalks where walking is comfortable and the first choice for many trips.
T-2 Biking: Interconnect bicycle facilities that are safe, nearby, easy to use and popular with people of all ages and abilities.
The update to this plan will incorporate new innovative solutions that are designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities for residents and visitors to feel more comfortable when choosing to walk or bike. It will also focus on completing connections, improving bike parking and considering technologies that can both facilitate travel by walking and bicycling and also to help the city better evaluate how many people are walking and bicycling in Kirkland.
The City will be providing opportunities for the public to engage in the update. CHNA will send out information on how you can participate in the future.
CHNA BROCHURE AND MAILER and OTHER UPCOMING PROJECTS
As part of the 2021/2022 City Matching Grant Program, CHNA is developing a brochure/mailer to send to all addresses within our neighborhood boundaries. The intent of the brochure/mailer is to increase awareness of CHNA and opportunities for enhancing our community. We hope to re-engage people that have been in the neighborhood for a while as well as a way to welcome new residents and businesses that may not be aware of what we can do.
We have a really good start for a mailer thanks to Hanna Christerson's input and design suggestions. We will likely finalize it later this year for mailing in the first quarter next spring.
We are always looking for additional support for this effort and the other matching grant projects. The other projects that we have received grant funds from the City's Matching Grant Program include:
- Post Covid Pandemic Celebration in 2022 to Reconnect In Person
- Developing Possible Ideas for Historical Markers or Other Ways to Identify the Central Houghton Neighborhood of Kirkland.
Please let us know at email@example.com if you have ideas for these efforts and interest in assisting on any of them.
We have openings for Board positions - Vice President and Treasurer. We would love to have input and ideas from a wider range of people involved in CHNA. We want to be a great resource for our neighborhood to help address specific issues or concerns. We also want to find new ways to inform our neighbors of upcoming activities and how you can get involved. We are always looking for new ideas for projects or activities that will help make our neighborhood and community a better place.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on these topics. Also let us know if you have ideas for topics for future meetings or want to talk about getting involved with CHNA. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and hope to see you at our October 12 Zoom meeting.
Larry Toedtli, President
Central Houghton Neighborhood Association