January 12, 2016 1:12 am
Updated: January 12, 2016 10:51 am

Controversial Kirkland housing project rejected

WATCH ABOVE: Kirkland's council decided to drop the bylaw that would have turned the industrial Merck site into a residential site. Elysia Bryan-Banes reports.


KIRKLAND- Residents cheered Monday after Kirkland council members announced they were dropping a bylaw that would have paved the way for a 800 unit housing complex on the former Merck pharmaceutical site in Lacey Green.

“I don’t think it’s a bad project per se, but it was clear speaking to residents that there’s room for improvement,” Kirkland city councillor Domenico Zito told Global News.

More than 300 residents showed up Jan. 7 to sign a registry that would have triggered a referendum.

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Only 125 signatures were needed to set the process in motion.

The decision to deny the zoning change from industrial to residential came after weeks of petitions and meetings organized by residents concerned about the increased traffic and the density of the housing plan.

“We’re very happy that citizens came out in droves,” explained Cherine Cheftechi, one of the citizens who spearheaded the resistance.

Kirkland mayor Michel Gibson said that holding a referendum on the issue would have been futile.

“We saw that it would have been defeated in the longterm,” he said.

“Democracy talked. Our residents were heard and we decided to pull it.”

It’s now up to the developers to come up with a plan that fits the industrial zoning.

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