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Possible Conflict Delays Vote on Acorn Corner Signs

Kent Architectural Review Board reschedules vote on sign plan for old hotel restoration

The Kent architect working on the restoration of Acorn Corner had to delay his presentation for the building's signs to the Kent Architectural Review Board because he also sits on the panel.

Doug Fuller, of Fuller Design Group Architects, asked the board to table their vote on sign plans for the restoration this week after learning from Kent's law department that it may be a violation of state law for him to present the project to the board because of his role as a member of the panel.

Kent Assistant Law Director Eric Fink said Kent Law Director Jim Silver determined the potential conflict exists after the issue arose during a January meeting of the group.

"We have determined under both city and state ordinance that any member of the architecture review board cannot present in front of the architecture review board," Fink said.

Fuller asked the group to table the issue Tuesday on the advice of the law department.

In a Feb. 19 memo to the architecture board Silver wrote that members of the panel are identified as "public officials" under state and local law, and as such members of the panel who are architects by trade cannot represent clients in front of any of the city's governing boards, including the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals and Kent Planning Commission.

Fink said the law department is still trying to determine if another member of the firm could present a project on behalf of the architecture board member. The law department also is trying to determine if a member of the board authors the drawings for a project, would those drawings be admissible.

Elizabeth Eaken, a member of the architecture board and an employee of David Sommers & Associates, said the limitation hinders her ability to work as an architect in Kent.

She said that if she can't present a project to Kent's governing panels and a member of her firm can't either, then she'll be forced to resign from the architecture board.

"I don't have any choice," she said.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that members of the panel still can't make presentations for one year after their resignation.

Fuller said he doesn't expect Tuesday's delay will have much of a negative effect on the construction schedule for Acorn Corner and is hopeful the project's sign plan will be presented to the architecture board in March.

Jim Williams February 24, 2013 at 04:09 AM
I have asked. Let's see, Jasons' Barber Shop moved because they didn't have enough room to support their growing customer base. Popped has rented additional space to meet demand. HOME Markets continues to expand their merchandise selection to meet demand. Off the Wagon expanded a year ago into an adjacent space to meet demand. Do you see a trend here? So you don't want to walk two blocks? Pack a sandwich. But please stop projecting your distaste for a short stroll with an "everyone hates walking" mentality. Many are happy to make the effort, some aren't. Case closed.
Jim Williams February 24, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Shannon, yes, I do ride a bike sometimes, but if you noticed, I was talking about parking a car. Sadly, my address is outside of Kent, so I can't run for council, otherwise I would certainly try. Oh, and I would vote for paid parking in certain areas.
Russ Lilly February 25, 2013 at 04:10 PM
I have lived here off and on since 1970 and have never experienced a parking problem downtown. Sure I've had to circle the block a couple times to get a closer space that I wanted, but considering the dynamic scale of downtown development -- well it is holding together well.
Sue JEffers March 12, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Even people who don't live in kent are aware of the parking situation in kent, and actively avoid coming to town because of it. Those who ponder the question of parking spaces, and admit that they don't live in town and may have gotten lucky - you got lucky. this whole rush to subsidize private businesses and put up the food court and upscale specialty shops before securing proper parking will no doubt lead to the death of at least one of the startups - being handicapped by the economy, competition and the problems that 1st year businesses have is bad enough, but to actively pursue a course that makes it difficult and unpleasant to go near the shops is just stupid "planning". much like locating an unsustainable high priced hotel in the midst of the new shopping mall for the well to do. i noticed a sign yesterday directing people to some "overflow" parking that requires them to cross haymaker on foot to get where they want to go. bad decisions all around, but hey, at least we'll get to pay for it when reality sets in.
Shannon March 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM
An astute observation from Sue. Someone that looks at it from the perspective of what she is hearing and seeing. Be prepared for backlash Sue. The lemmings do not like when someone points out facts.Like the 3 businesses that are about to close their doors in that area. One, very popular...with people that walk (unknown to people that drive down, hoping to experience it).

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