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2007: Street of Dreams or Disappointment?

Schoolbus1 Bumpity bump I go on that big school bus with a Santa-like man at the wheel.  It's a 15 minute ride so there's plenty of time to get anxious as I await my viewing of the 2007 Seattle Street of Dreams homes.  What will the trends be this year?  How can they keep out-doing themselves?  I'm ready with my pen in hand and fine-tuned eye because this year we are preparing to do a sizable remodel on our house and may actually be able to implement some of these fantasticly clever ideas. 

Tamarackkitchenthu1 The theme, appropriately enough, in the year of Al Gore's insistent warnings and wacked out weather, is GREEN homes.  Great concept.  Five eco-friendly show homes over 4000sf and up to $1.975M in Quinn's Crossing.  It's still a mystery to me where this place really is- you park at Woodinville High and then get back on the highway (squeezed on that bus) and continue East. I had to email the organizers to discover it's actually in Snohomish.  Anyway, you'll have plenty of time to read the SOD show brochure from cover to cover which they are kind of enough to give you before you buy your tickets. I know this is a Kirkland blog, but I thought enough Kirklanders flock to this annual event that I should share my findings with you. This will allow you to save your $18/per person and go grab your favorite home magazine and have a 'Citrus' martini down at Cactus instead (seriously, have you tried one?).

Besides their respect for the environment, there's nothing particularly special about these homes.  I mean, don't get me wrong, they're large w/nice finishes but not one of them was a "Wow-er".  For example, last year there were unique features in the homes: an infinity pool, a theater room w/vibrating chairs, a man cave, a 'family center' which was like a mudroom on steroids.   Things I clearly remember that created a buzz of people oooh'ing and aaah'ing as they chatted and pointed.  This year was simply missing the magic.  There's no reason an eco-friendly house can't have some of that too.  And for $2M per home, I think we need some magic.  ~Janis

Walking and Biking in Kirkland: Take the Survey!

As a part of revising The Non-motorized Plan, the City of Kirkland is gathering data about how people walk and bike in Kirkland.  I, personally, always walk with my feet.  :-)
They're hoping to learn more about what you like and what you'd like to see improved.  They'd also like to know how you would prioritize spending of funds to make walking and biking easier. Take both surveys so your feedback counts!
Link to walking survey:
Link to bike survey
After you complete one of the surveys sign up for the list serve to keep up with the revision process.

There's also some buzz about a possible "Rails to Trails" project along the old dinner train line since that is no longer in service.  Here's where you can check out more info on benefits of such a project:

Kirkland Park Place: Touchstone Redevelopment Strikes some Nerves

Kirklandparkplace_002 The people of Kirkland are all abuzz about the talk of re-developing Kirkland Park Place.   Our quaint little shopping center could use a boost for sure, but the source of contention seems to be that Douglas Howe of Touchstone Corporation is requesting a private amendment to (a) increase the building height restriction from 3-5 stories to 5-8 stories and (b) reduce building setbacks from 20 feet to zero feet along Central Way.  And, logically, there's some sort of fast-tracked timeline to have a decision made by the end of the year so they can seize the current commercial office space opportunity. 

Kirklandparkplace_001 The City of Kirkland has a nice memo on the subject dated May 7th  found here that gives you a good overview.  Here's some additional reading on the subject.  The plan proposes numerous buildings with ground floor retail and restaurant space and several floors of office space above.  There's also 2 hotels, a sport club, and some above ground residential units with subterranean parking under most of the site with limited surface parking.  It's not too clear if our movie theater would stay.   I'm not sure what happens to all of the retailers that are there today- could they afford to stay?  I'm curious why these proposed hotels would be permitted to go to higher heights when The Heathman also asked for an exception and was denied?

Marriotttotemlake I did have a chance to listen to Mr. Howe  (who also developed our new Marriott Courtyard in Totem Lake-pic right) speak at one of our neighborhood association meetings.  A sort of mad scientist guy with trendy dark rimmed glasses and waving arms-he's very enthusiastic about his many drawings and visions, but pretty glossy when it comes to the details.  He did stress the whole picture of 'inter-connectivity' with walking paths from KPP through the park and surrounding areas to encourage Kirkland to be more of a pedestrian downtown core. I liked that part.  And I also generally like the prospect of taking KPP to the next level- it's time.  But when I asked Mr. Howe if he had any plans to put together focus groups as he moves forward (b/c I'm interested in contributing).  He looked at me like I was an alien and I had to explain to him what a focus group was. 

Anyway- I still feel like there's a lot of homework that needs to be done- what about our Kirkland Teen Union Building and the Senior Center? What about traffic and parking?  What about the input of our citizens?  How does this all jive with our strategic plan?    Why is a developer telling us how quickly we need to move?  The City promises us they will have a webpage with updates on this subject soon.   Let's all stay tuned so this one doesn't hit the pedal without us.   Did anyone attend the city council meeting Tuesday night that can give us an update on what's happening? ~Janis

Carillon Outdoor Movies: Summer '07

Popcorn_21 They're back!  It's the second annual summer movie events at Carillon Point.  Movies start at dusk in the plaza (near the big bells). So bring your low back chair, blanket and a $5 suggested donation per person which benefits Hopelink.  And no movie is complete without soda/popcorn/candy too.

Here's the schedule:

July 21st- My Big Fat Greek Wedding  (love this one!)

July 28th- Happy  Feet

August 4th- Top Gun (guys, bring her to this one- just the theme music makes my heart skip a beat)

August 11th- Casino Royale (one of the best Bonds, IMO)

August 18th- Goonies

August 25th- The Sandlot

Questions????? Contact Jamie Tuttle at 425-822-1700

A downtown plan: Let them know what you think!

Town_meeting_activity1 Seems like people always complain after the fact.  "Why did they do THAT?"  "What was (insert offender's name here)thinking?"  "Are our tax dollars paying for that?"  You've got to open your mouth early in the discussions if you feel passionately about something, but often we don't realize we ever had the opportunity.  I know-it's easy to miss- there are a lot of meetings and an whole lot of consultants floating around this city so I don't know who could keep track.  But here's one I thought you'd care about: 

The City of Kirkland and the Downtown Advisory Committee invite the community to participate on July 16th in a community conversation to discuss a vision for downtown Kirkland.

Kirkland Community Conversation – The Downtown Strategic Plan Update

July 16, 2007

Kirkland Teen Union Building

348 Kirkland Ave

6:30 to 8:30pm

For questions or comments, contact Jeremy McMahan, Planning Supervisor at 425-587-3229 or jmcmahan@ci.kirkland.wa.us

I have no idea if the quickly-growing-controversial topic of Park Place redevelopment is on the agenda, but I'd guess it should be.  And how does annexation fit into this strategy?  So many loaded questions!   Take a quick break from the sun and go contribute, Kirkland!   Or, if you can't get off your lounger, at least take the online survey.    ~Janis