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Kirkland City Council votes to approve plan to turn former La Quinta Inn into supportive housing

The council added an amendment that would require a criminal history background check of prospective tenants.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The Kirkland City Council voted to approve a plan that would turn the former La Quinta Inn into permanent, supportive housing.

King County previously purchased the former inn as part of its Health Through Housing program. The resolution vote on Tuesday would authorize the city manager to execute the agreement with the county. 

King County purchased the property in March of 2022. It was the 10th property purchased for the housing program, which aims to develop permanent, supportive housing for people who are experiencing homelessness. 

The former inn, which was the second Health Through Housing purchase on the Eastside, will provide at least 120 units of housing.

Members of the Kirkland City Council voiced their concern over how the county was handling the project and passed Resolution 5522 in response. Within the resolution were five main conditions, including that the city be able to review and approve the county’s selection process for the facility’s operator and that there be a community relations plan developed to address possible impacts on nearby schools, businesses and residences.

At the meeting, the council approved a few amendments to the agreement with King County, including one that would require a criminal history background check of prospective tenants.

Councilmember Jon Pascal said his resolution introduces when a background check should be required.

"In other words, it contained a threshold analysis and recognizes there are some individuals that we absolutely need to learn more about," Pascal said. "It focuses on those individuals with sexual assault convictions and those individuals that have demonstrated past violent behaviors."

In April of 2022, some Kirkland residents too legal action over the plan. A group of parents, under the name Keep Kids Safe, filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County against Kirkland and King County “challenging the lack of public process and transparency” in the proposed facility.

The lawsuit claimed that there was no public meeting held prior to the purchase of the property. While the lawsuit was directed at the process through which the county and city finalized the housing project, another key complaint from parents was that the site is a short distance away from numerous schools, including Eastside Preparatory School just one street over from the hotel.

The mayor of Kirkland responded to the lawsuit, claiming the “complaint is without merit.”

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