Lawsuit over planned Kirkland hotel shelter is ‘without merit’ says mayor

Apr 12, 2022, 8:23 AM

Kirkland hotel, La Quinta Inn...

A vacant La Quinta Inn in Kirkland. (King County)

(King County)

Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet responded to a recently-filed lawsuit over a planned permanent supportive housing facility in a vacant La Quinta Inn, detailing her belief that the lawsuit’s allegations are “without merit.”

King County moving forward with plan to convert Kirkland hotel into homeless shelter

The lawsuit was filed in early April by a group of parents called Keep Kids Safe, who claim that the city ignored state and county laws it purchased the hotel, and that the county should been required to hold a public meeting regarding the intended use of the property.

The former hotel is located near State Route 520 on the south edge of Kirkland, marking the latest site added to the county’s Health Through Housing initiative. As part of that effort, the county has already purchased nine other former hotel properties, spanning Auburn, Federal Way, North Seattle, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, Redmond, and Renton.

When it first became known that the county was considering the Kirkland site for its next shelter space, several residents expressed concerns over its proximity to at least four schools, as well as the area’s status as “a major hub for several businesses” along the border between Kirkland and Bellevue. That led to the lawsuit, which alleges that “the risks of locating so close to all these schools and a daycare” were not considered.

In an open letter “to our community” from Mayor Sweet, she expressed how she was “disappointed that the plaintiffs in this case … seem willing to jeopardize the confidence that Kirkland’s residents and businesses have in their City and its government.”

UW researchers see ‘compelling’ results from bringing homeless into hotels

“At the same time, however, we want to make it clear we hear and understand the concerns members of our community have expressed about this proposed use,” she added, directing residents to the city’s Health Through Housing webpage, which lays out its larger strategy regarding homelessness, as well as the process surrounding the use of the hotel.

“Both the Council and City staff, at our direction, have been transparent in this process and will continue to be,” Sweet continued. “As we have stated from the outset, we will conduct additional, robust public outreach to help ensure that community concerns are addressed in the agreements between the City and the County.”

That will include a town hall meeting hosted by King County and Kirkland leaders on May 9, with more details expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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Lawsuit over planned Kirkland hotel shelter is ‘without merit’ says mayor