Northwest NEWS

October 25, 1999

Editorial

Elimination of office space is shortsighted

   The decision of Lake Pointe to eliminate 100,000 square feet of office space from its development plan provides an unfortunate example of the problems with development regulations and incentives in our community and is a shortsighted solution to a problematic appeal.

   As a member of the Lake Pointe Citizens Advisory Committee, I, together with numerous other people from Kenmore, worked for over two years to create a development plan that met community needs and protected the environment.

   The bulk of decisions were preordained by numerous federal, state, and local agencies. This gave us very little latitude in how the plan would develop. However, in spite of this, a plan was developed that enjoyed tremendous support from the area.

   The plan, as developed, created local amenities such as movie theaters, restaurants, and waterfront access, and provided Kenmore with a solid commercial core. Now, due to the misguided efforts of one individual, what could have been a vital center for the community may be lost. The longterm impacts on Kenmore will most likely be significant.

   Anyone who has actually spent five minutes in this community understands that there is a tremendous need for office space and commercial development. On the other land, we have been inundated with multi-family residential units that strain local services, such as police, fire, and utilities, and worsen the traffic problem. Now, this problem will only be exacerbated further as residents both new and old are forced to look outside of the community for employment and office space.

   While I can understand the frustration of Lake Pointe's developers, I would ask that they look to the longterm effects that a decision to eliminate the office complex will have on the overall value of the project.

   Likewise, I would ask those who are supporting the appeal to take a hard look at what they will actually be achieving. You need look no further than the development patterns of neighboring cities such as Kirkland and Redmond to see that a successful commercial base translates into successful and vibrant neighborhoods.

   The result of this appeal will be more of the same residential development that is already abundant without any of the commercial facilities our community desperately needs. Without commercial development, traffic will only worsen as people continue to drive somewhere else to work and shop.

   Please consider what you are getting, and upon careful analysis, it should be obvious to you that you should drop your appeal and let the project proceed as planned and designed by experts and members of your community. Allow the developers the opportunity to spend money on creating a quality project rather than unnecessary costs of an appeal.

   Finally, I request that the Kenmore City Council reject the amendment to the development plan if at all possible. The longterm effects on this community will be disastrous. As a community, we should not let an ill-advised appeal dictate an ill-advised solution.

Kinnon W. Williams, Commissioner, Northshore Utility District