**Guest Post** Losing the History of Redmond

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Guest Post regarding the history and function of Nokomis Building by Patsy Rosenbach, Kirkland.

Nokomis Building Procedures

Letter to the Editor, Redmond Reporter                                                                                               December 1-14, 2015

Growing up in Redmond and the Redmond of today are vastly different.  The “Third Street” (now 166th Avenue N.E.) I grew up on of residences with yards and gardens has disappeared into high rise apartments and condominiums snugged right up to the sidewalk.  How is the sun to reach the earth?  Are zoning laws being upheld?  What about carbon footprint?  The earth is paved over.  Lost is the feeling of neighborhoods and private residences.

Next on the chopping block is the historically significant Nokomis building, built in 1933 during the Great Depression by the WPA for intended use as a library and use of the commuity.  My first job as a student at the Redmond Elementary School was to walk to the library about once a week to check in books.  I recall the librarian Mamie Orr and her assistant Mrs. Morrell, and I recall the visits of Mrs. Ottini as she arrived with arms full of books.  How she ever got through them all is still impressive to me.  Those were days long gone by.

And now the City of Redmond is partnering with a builder to raze the historic Nokomis buildng which was built on land donated by Redmond’s Brown family for community use.  That purpose is now foregone in favor of a multi-story dense housing facility of dormitory size rooms with 48 tenants per floor sharing kitchen space.  Would you want to share your kitchen with 47 other residents?  What about sanitation?  What about privacy issues?  Proposed are 96 units of 200 square feet each, with ground floor to be retail space.  How will the 29 parking spaces allocated accommodate such a facility?  And what is to become of the street traffic?  Who will monitor such a facility and its maintenance indoors and out?  What will this invite?

Attendance at the Redmond City Council meeting on December 1, 2015, to appeal this decision yielded ongoing concerns.  Of primary concern is legal ownership of the building.  What entity holds the last Statutory Warranty Deed to the building?  It is my understanding that the Nokomis Club sold the building to the Redmond Chamber of Commerce for continued community use.  The Chamber was disbanded and taken over by One Redmond, an organization membered by the mayor, council members, and the current presumed owner.  How can the title company and/or escrow company clear title without benefit of a clean Statutory Warranty Deed?  Who is responsible for making that provision?

It is apparent that this perception of a conflict of interest would come into question as the mayor and three council members recused themselves from the Council hearing on December 1.  And how is it that documentation provided by the Nokomis representatives was devalued or not considered as part of the hearing?  The Council’s scripted responses were recited in rote, appearing totally biased.  It is as if a determination was made by the mayor and council prior to any sort of “hearing” to arrive at the decision to deny the appeals to the Hearing Examiner’s decision to prevent demolition of the building.

The questions and doubts about the legality and appropriateness of issues surrounding this situation are sorely disappointing.  What will be the outcome?

Patsy Rosenbach, Kirkland, WA

 

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Opposition to Nokomis being demolished

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~ Guest Post ~

I am definitely opposed to the City of Redmond‘s proposal to demolish the Nokomis Building and replace it with 162TEN Project in Redmond.  This proposal is for a 5-story building of 96 units of 200 square feet.  Parking is inadequate for 96 units and only 29 parking spaces.

Is Redmond, city of approximate 55,000 persons, returning to the days of the late 1800’s?   During this heyday, the city was reminiscent of loggers, saloons, dance halls, and prostitution. In other cities, where canneries and plantations existed, people lived in these small shared rooms without adequate space and privacy.  If you lived close to the kitchen be prepared to hear anyone who cooks or talks in this shared space.

In addition there may be the issue of safety for both sexes living in close confines especially with drug problems or mental health issues.  In close quarters, violence, safety and stability are very important for the Redmond community.

 

Karen Yoneda

Redmond, WA

Saving the Nokomis Building

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Guest post by Alexa Munoz, President Nokomis Club of Redmond

Nokomis Club of Redmond needs to raise approximately $25-$50,000 in order to pay for legal fees and representation as they appeal the decision to deny the historic significance of the Nokomis building in Redmond.  The hearing appealing the City of Redmond’s “Decision of Non-Significance” was held July 9th and 10th.  We are awaiting a decision on the appeal.

A separate appeal has been filed regarding the EPA’s classification of the building.

If you are interested in helping with their fight, please consider donating funds via PayPal on the Nokomis Club website or through their Crowdrise site (both listed below).

Contact the Redmond Nokomis Club:

Nokomis Club of Redmond

P.O. Box 7012 

Bellevue, WA  98008-1012

Website:  www.nokomisclub98052.com

Crowdrise site:  https://www.crowdrise.com/HistoricRedmondsFirstLibrary/fundraiser/kristenbryant

December 7, 2015

 

The Process to Save the Nokomis Building

                      

 

Beginning in February 2015, the Nokomis Club of Redmond participated in the process proscribed in the City of Redmond zoning code to prevent the Nokomis Building from being demolished and replaced by the 162TEN Project. The 162TEN Project, a proposal for a 5-story building of 96 units of 200 square feet each with ground floor retail, was given the status of a Type II Site Plan Entitlement, and the project was then reviewed by the City of Redmond Development Department to ensure the project met their initial screening checklist requirements. With the Type II Site Plan Entitlement designation, a project is approved after two reviews by the Design Review Board and two reviews by the Technical Committee comprised of the Director of Planning and the Director of Public Works.  (Refer to Redmond Zoning Code 21.76.050E.)

 

In February the first document issued by the City was the decision on State Environmental Policy Act-Determination of Non-Significance (SEPA-DNS).  The primary concern of this determination was the viability of the Nokomis Building.  The Nokomis Club and Redmond Historical Society partnered to appeal the City’s findings on this topic on March 3, 2015.

 

The Technical Committee Report was issued on April 2, 2015, and the Nokomis Club submitted its appeal on the April 22, 2015, deadline.  However, the City distributed a revised version of the Technical Committee Report dated April 22, 2015.  Further comments on issues in the new report were allowed and made by the Nokomis Club by the deadline of May 6, 2015.

 

The City determined it would be more efficient to hold the Nokomis Club appeals of the Technical Committee Decision and the SEPA-DNS concurrently before the Hearing Examiner.  Those hearings were held on July 9 and 10, 2015.  The Hearing Examiner issued her decision denying the appeals on August 7, 2015.  Following this decision, the Nokomis Club requested a reconsideration of some facts, and that decision was issued on September 3, 2015.

 

The Nokomis Club appealed the Hearing Examiner’s decision of August 7, 2015, to the Redmond City Council, and met the appeal deadline of September 17, 2015.  The City Council scheduled their hearing for December 1, 2015.  During this hearing, each side had ten minutes to present an oral argument.  After presentation of the arguments, the Council voted to uphold the Hearing Examiner’s decision denying the appeals.

 

Should the Nokomis Club of Redmond determine the facts warrant another appeal, the outstanding issues can be appealed to King County Superior Court.

 

Alexa Munoz, President

Nokomis Club of Redmond

Previous posts about Nokomis Building:

November 26th, 2015
October 23, 2015
August 6, 2015
July 15, 2015
July 7, 2015
June 3, 2015
May 29, 2015
April 20, 2015