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Totem Lake Business District Plan

Along with the update of the Comprehensive Plan, the City is updating the long-range plan for the Totem Lake Business District.  The Totem Lake update will occur during the same time frame as that of the Comprehensive Plan, with adoption of a revised Plan for the business district anticipated in 2015.  In 2014 and through 2015, the Planning Commission is studying a variety of issues, including the District’s light industrial areas, possible changes to the Urban Center boundaries, transportation, connections to the Cross Kirkland Corridor, opportunities for housing and mixed use development and other topics.  The plan update will also include the consideration of five Citizen Amendment Requests for policy or zoning changes for property within the district.

Environmental Review:  A “Planned Action” Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is anticipated for the Totem Lake Business District.  The benefit of this more detailed environmental assessment is that it may make the development process simpler within the area.  The Planned Action EIS will follow the schedule for the EIS that is being prepared for the Comprehensive Plan, with completion estimated for May of 2015.  A public hearing will be held on July 23, 2015, 7 pm, Kirkland City Hall.

Existing Totem Lake Plan:  The Totem Lake Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2002,(PDF 2963k) provides the goals and policies to direct growth and development in Totem Lake. The existing plan for Totem Lake strengthens the role of the area as the City’s “economic engine,” a focus for jobs and activity.  The district is planned to provide the community and region with services, including health care, retail and automotive businesses.  The Plan supports the transformation of the central core of Totem Lake which includes the Totem Lake Mall, Evergreen Hospital campus, regional transit facility and surrounding area into a dense, walkable community with high density housing and substantial employment.  Beyond the core area, policies support a broad mix of residential, retail, light industrial and office uses, providing varied employment and housing opportunities for the City as a whole.  The plan for the business district is summarized on the Totem Lake Business District – Current Planned Land use and Vision map.

Urban Center:  The Totem Lake area was designated by the Growth Management Planning Council as an Urban Center in 2003.  See map indicating boundaries of the Totem Lake Neighborhood and Totem Lake Urban Center. (PDF  648k) In requesting this designation, the City’s plan for the area committed to planning for the minimum densities and intensities established for Urban Centers.  The Totem Lake Business District is now one of 18 Urban Centers throughout King County.  These regional centers are intended to absorb new jobs, population and housing, thereby helping to protect natural resource lands from growth.  With its Urban Center status, Totem Lake receives priority when applying for federal funding for infrastructure, including transportation improvement.  

Public Outreach:  Involvement from the general community, as well as targeted involvement with property owners, businesses and residents is included in the business district plan update.  To date, outreach events have included input from the larger community at meetings of the Kirkland Business Roundtable, Community Planning Days, the “Totem Lake Conversations” meetings of the Totem Lake business community, and at Neighborhood Plan Update meetings that included Totem Lake.  In addition, a focus group was convened in January 2014 on the topic of the Parmac area, in order to gain input from property owners, developers and representatives from industries not currently in the area about the forces behind location choices, investment goals, and local factors influencing development decisions in this and other predominantly industrial areas.  

Planning Commission Materials:  Materials prepared for Planning Commission meetings on Totem Lake topics can be found below.  As new materials are prepared for subsequent meetings, that information will be posted on this page.