Kenmore housing project will provide long-term economic help — Bothell Letters to the Editor

Letters from Bothell and other area residents.

Kenmore Village story revisited

The Kenmore Village project provides an important catalyst to quality downtown development in Kenmore. The Reporter’s May 14 article by Joshua Adam Hicks on the amendment to the development agreement approved by the Kenmore City Council on May 12 contains several items of information that require further clarification. In brief, the amendment adds a fourth option to the original three development concept options and moves the purchase closing date less than six months.

• Schedule: The article states that construction was originally scheduled to begin in early 2008 with the first phase complete in 2009. Unfortunately, this information came from the developer’s Web site and is outdated. The link to that Web site has been removed from the city’s Web site until the information has been corrected. The original development agreement approved in July 2007 anticipated construction starting after July 1, 2009. The approved amendment moves the closing date for the first phase of the property sale from July 1, 2009, to Dec. 15, 2009, with construction anticipated to begin February 2010. With this extension of the closing date, the city would be compensated for the short delay through an already existing escalation provision to the purchase price. Phase 1 construction will take approximately two years and will include all the retail development and 100 units of housing.

• Site layout and parking: During Kenmore Partners’ negotiations with prospective retail tenants, they heard a strong preference for a mix of surface and structured parking. The added fourth conceptual plan option for development in the amendment provides the flexibility for this mix that can be more attractive to a major tenant while retaining good urban design. The council and Downtown Task Force reviewed the site plan in the new concept option and had a positive reaction to the design.

• Agreement amendments: The Reporter article incorrectly states that the developer has “chopped away” the development concept three times. It’s not clear what this refers to, as the amended agreement now includes a fourth plan alternative to the original three concepts for development, all of which provide a range in terms of housing units, retail square footage and parking options. This range was previously analyzed in environmental review and approved by the city. It is important to note that the minimum retail space remains the same in all four options. The City Council approved minor amendments in January 2008 and March 2008 that moved intermediate deadlines for both the city (in awarding a contract for State Route 522 and other street improvements) and Kenmore Partners (for submitting development permits). These minor amendments served the needs of both parties and did not affect the project’s design or composition.

This catalyst project will provide immediate and long-term economic benefits to the city. The amendment to the development agreement recognizes that although the current economic environment makes financing more challenging, the key elements of the project remain unchanged. The development is moving forward, Kenmore Partners remain committed to the project and we will do our best to ensure the community has up-to-date and accurate information regarding the Kenmore Village by the Lake development.

Stephen L. Anderson

Kenmore City Manager

Reporter’s note: My story about the Kenmore Village development was free of factual errors and representative of the conversations I had with Kenmore residents.

One point of that piece was that residents have come to expect delays with the Kenmore Village project. In the beginning, Urban Partners promised partial completion in 2008. That date was pushed once through the original disposition and development agreement, and again through this recent amendment.

Another point of my article was that the conceptual designs for Kenmore Village have depleted over time. One can disagree with my use of the term “chopped away” to describe this fact, but that does not make it “incorrect,” as Mr. Anderson alleges.

Scout discusses

better bus service

My name is Kevin Schindler and I am from Boy Scout Troop 570. I am working on my Communications Merit Badge as a requirement for my Eagle Scout rank.

One of the requirements for this badge is to attend a town meeting, which I did in April of this year, and to express my opinion on the meeting to you.

The town meeting was for the Kenmore City Council and the Downtown Task Force meeting to discuss the transit-oriented development. Mark Hellenbeck, director of the Washington State Center at the University of Washington, said that there are many ways that we can improve transportation in Kenmore.

I think that one thing we should strive for is better bus service. For example, having Internet access on buses, cleaner engines and having good air-conditioning and heating systems for rider comfort.

I think it is a great idea for Kenmore to have a better bus service for everyone!

Kevin Schindler