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Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Kirkland, WA

Accomplishments

Major Accomplishments to Date

Since its founding as DCNA, the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance has been active in protecting and expanding the neighborhood’s parks, waterways, and tree canopy, and it has promoted land use policies that balance sensible growth with environmental preservation. Some of the organization’s key accomplishments are:

  • Restoration of O.O. Denny Creek – volunteers worked with King County to restore the stream bed and remove a dam across the creek at the eastern edge of O. O'Denny Park. Interpretive signs were installed in conjunction with this project. [Add date.]

  • Adoption of the Holmes Point Overlay tree ordinance – DCNA worked with the King County Council to create a tree ordinance that was designed to preserve trees in the area west of Juanita Drive. [Add date.] The ordinance is now Chapter 70 of the City’s zoning code.

  • Preservation of O.O. Denny Park – DNCA members advocated for a ballot measure to establish a local taxing district to preserve O.O. Denny Park after it was closed because King County could no longer afford to maintain it. The ballot measure, which created the Finn Hill Park and Recreation District, was passed by Finn Hill residents in 2002, with 70% of votes cast in favor of the proposal. The FHPRD managed both O.O. Denny Park and Juanita Heights Park on Goat Hill until Finn Hill was annexed by Kirkland in 2011 and management responsibility for the two parks passed to the City’s Parks and Community Services Department.

  • Creation of Juanita Woodlands Park – In 2001, DCNA members lobbied the King County Council to purchase the 40-acre Juanita Woodland Park from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, which had declared the land as surplus property and planned to sell it to developers. DCNA raised over $500,000 from Finn Hill residents to help fund the purchase. Since the purchase, FHNA volunteers have removed invasive weeds and planted thousands of trees in the park.

  • Adoption of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Plan – Following Finn Hill’s annexation by Kirkland, FHNA worked with the City to formulate a neighborhood plan that emphasizes tree protection, park expansion, and additional commercial services and multifamily housing in the Inglewood shopping center. The neighborhood plan, which forms part of the City’s comprehensive plan, was adopted in by the City Council in 2018. It has led to downzoning in the Holmes Point area, rezoning of the Inglewood shopping center, the approval of the Finn Hill Green Loop concept, and proposed amendments to the Holmes Point Overlay ordinance designed to enhance protections for trees in construction areas and to offer homeowners more flexibility to remove unwanted trees (contingent upon replanting). The Holmes Point Overlay amendments were put on hold pending Kirkland’s review of its citywide tree code.

  • Amendments to City tree code – FHNA was an influential participant in shaping the City’s update to its tree code. The code now includes stronger protections for landmark trees (particularly and difficult to replace mature trees). The Council adopted the amendments in 2022. They are codified in Chapter 85 of the Kirkland Zoning Code.

  • Amendments to Steep Slope ordinance – FHNA also offered recommendations for revisions to the City’s regulations governing development in geologically hazardous zones. The rules were amended to authorize City staff to require independent geotech evaluations of soil stability on particularly steep slopes.

  • Expansion of Juanita Heights Park – As part of its Green Loop project, FHNA has raised funds from neighborhood residents and worked with City and County officials to double the size of Juanita Heights Park in [2016]. FHNA continues to work with local officials to expand the park and to complete the Billy Goat Trail, a pathway from the park at the top of Goat Hill to Juanita Beach Park in Lake Washington.

  • Construction of bridges in Big Finn Hill Park – FHNA obtained a grant for and oversaw the construction in [2017] of two pedestrian bridges over O.O. Denny Creek in Big Finn Hill Park.

  • Expansion of Big Finn Hill Park – During the COVID pandemic, FHNA brokered real estate transactions with the City and the County that resulted in the acquisition of 7 acres of meadows and forest straddling O.O. Denny Park adjacent Big Finn Hill Park.

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