Skip to main content
Twitter YouTube Print E-mail a friend this page Share this page

Common Project Types

The following links provide information on some of the more common projects along the shoreline:

Single-Family Residences and Additions

Single-family residences and additions are exempt from a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit if they meet the shoreline regulations in Kirkland Zoning Code (KZC) Chapter 83.  Below is a summary of key regulations for a new single-family residence or addition.

Shoreline Setback

  • The required shoreline setback (KZC Section 83.180 and 83.190.2) is based on the location of the ordinary high water mark on your property and the shoreline environment designation of the property (Residential-Low subareas A through L or Residential Medium-High if located in a multifamily area).  There is a minimum required setback and in most cases a greater setback required based on the 'average parcel depth' for the property.  For the R-L(A) subarea, the required setback is based on the average shoreline setback of the adjacent residences and not the average parcel depth.
  • The required shoreline setback may be reduced by making certain improvements to the shoreline.  See KZC Section 83.380 for the specific options.
  • If the property is located in the Finn Hill neighborhood (subareas R-L(C) through R-L(I)) and contains a nonconforming residence, see KZC Section 83.180 for the allowance to reduce the shoreline setback with certain shoreline improvements.
  • If the property contains a nonconforming residence located in a shoreline setback, an addition of up to 10% of the footprint of the existing structure may be constructed in the shoreline setback with vegetation mitigation.  See KZC Section 83.550.5.b.8 and Chapter 180 - Plate 44.
  • Certain improvements may be located in a portion of the shoreline setback, including at-grade decks and patios, walkways to the lake, and other improvements.  See KZC Section 83.190.2.d.
  • For new residences or major additions (more than 50% of the replacement cost of the structure), all existing nonconforming accessory structures located in the shoreline setback must be removed, including pools, sheds, patios, and second story decks.  For the RSA and RMA zones, boathouses and additional piers must also be removed.  See KZC Section 83.550.5.b.5.
  • Fences, pools, sheds, greenhouses, and other accessory structures are not permitted in the shoreline setback.  See KZC Section 83.190.2.16.

Building Height

  • The maximum height limit is 30 feet in the Residential Low area if the shoreline setback is met and 35 feet in the Residential Medium-High area. 

Shoreline Vegetation

  • New residences require planting of shoreline native vegetation at 10 feet in depth along 75% of the linear frontage of the property.  The depth can be reduced to 5 feet provided that the total area of 10' x 75% is provided.  Within the vegetative area, trees, shrubs, and ground cover are required.  See KZC Section 83.400.2.
  • Trees within the shoreline setback that are removed or fall to the ground naturally must be replaced with a new tree.  Depending on the size of the tree, 80 square feet of native vegetation is required.  Trees 24 inches in diameter or greater may not be removed unless the City Arborist determines that they are nuisance or hazardous trees, in which case a 2 to 1 replacement is required.  See KZC Section 83.400.1.

Other Standards

  • New retaining walls and rockeries are not permitted within 5 feet of the ordinary high water mark because they can function as shoreline stabilization.  See KZC Section 83.190.2.12.
  • Lot Coverage (total impervious area) is a maximum of 50% of lot area in Residential Low area and 80% of lot area in Residential Medium-High area.
  • Exterior lighting standards must be met for lights that face towards or shine on the lake.  See KZC Section 83.470.

Back to Top

 


Piers

Piers associated with an existing residential development costing less than $10,000 (includes all materials and labor) are exempt from a shoreline Substantial Development Permit (SDP), but must receive an exemption approval from the City.  All other piers must be approved through an SDP.

Below is a summary of key regulations for piers associated with a single-family residence.  See KZC Chapter 83 for all of the regulations and for piers associated with a multi-family complex.

  • New or replacement piers must meet the setback, design, and dimensional standards in KZC Section 83.270.4.a.  Piers must be fully grated.
  • The City will approve an alternative design through an administrative approval process if the design is approved by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Maximum area, maximum width, and minimum water depth may be varied.  See KZC Section 83.270.4.b.
  • Native shoreline vegetation is required for new or replacement piers at 10 feet in depth along 75% of the linear frontage of the property.  The depth can be reduced to 5 feet provided that the total area of 10' x 75% is provided.  Within the vegetative area, trees, shrubs, and ground cover area required.  See KZC Section 83.270.5.
  • For replacement piers, skirting and in-water structures located within 30 feet of the ordinary high water line must be removed.
  • For additions to piers, need for the addition must be shown and the dimensional standards for the pier must be met.  Decking for the first 30 feet of the existing pier from the OWHM must be converted to grated decking and in-water structures removed within the first 30 feet.  In the RSA zone, additional piers, boat houses, and other in-water structures must be removed.  Native shoreline vegetation described above for new piers must be planted.
  • Paved walkway up to 8 feet in width is permitted within the shoreline setback to the pier.  See KZC Section 83.190.2.d and KZC Chapter 180 Plate 42.
  • Moorage buoys are not permitted in conjunction with a pier.  See KZC Section 83.270.4.
  • Contact US Corps of Engineers and Washington Fish and Wildlife for their required permits.

Back to Top

 


Boatlifts

Boatlifts that exceed the cost of the State threshold of $5,700 (includes all materials and labor) require a shoreline Substantial Development Permit.  New or repaired boatlifts that cost less than the threshold are exempt from the permit, but must receive an exemption approval from the City.

Below is a summary of key regulations for a boatlift.  See KZC Chapter 83 for all of the regulations and for boatlifts associated with multi-family development.

  • Boatlifts must meet the setback standards in KZC Section 83.270.2 and the setback location and maximum number standards found in KZC Section 83.270.8.
  • Canopies must be of a translucent material.
  • Maximum of two cubic yards of fill are permitted to anchor a boatlift.
  • Contact US Corps of Engineers and Washington Fish and Wildlife for their required permits.

Back to Top


Bulkheads

New or repair of bulkheads associated with a single-family residence are exempt from a shoreline Substantial Development Permit, but must receive exemption approval from the City.  However, new, enlarged and major repairs of bulkheads are not permitted unless need is demonstrated to protect an existing primary structure from erosion within three (3) years.  Bulkheads are not permitted to add or alter land, such as providing an area for lawn.

Below is a summary of key regulations found in KZC Section 83.300 for new, enlarged or repair of a bulkhead or other forms of shoreline stabilization.  See KZC Chapter 83 for all regulations.

  • KZC Chapter 180 Plate 43 provides technical information about when it may be appropriate to convert from a hard to soft shoreline stabilization measure given the setback from the lake, height and depth of the existing bulkhead, and near shore slope and slope of the upland area.
  • For new or enlarged bulkhead, a geotechnical report is required showing that erosion will undermine an existing primary structure within three years.
  • For new or enlarged bulkhead, gravel/cobble beach fill must be placed waterward of the ordinary high water mark and native plants must be installed along 75% of the linear frontage of the shoreline at a depth of 10 feet along with a maintenance agreement.  See KZC Section 83.300.10.
  • For major repair of a bulkhead or new (was a natural shoreline before) or enlarged soft shoreline stabilization, a need assessment is required showing that erosion will undermine an existing primary structure within three years.  A major repair is more that 75% of the linear length of the structure that involves replacement of top or middle course rock and/or more than 50% of the linear length of the toe rock or footing.
  • For repair or replacement of soft shoreline stabilization or replacement from hard to soft shoreline stabilization, no need assessment is required.
  • If an existing primary structure is 10 feet or closer to the ordinary high water mark, a report or needs assessment is not required.
  • Soft shoreline stabilization includes use of gravels, cobbles, boulders, logs, and vegetation.
  • Maintenance agreement is required for hard and soft structural stabilization.
  • Applicant must submit a fee for a consultant to review the geotechnical report or need assessment, and the design and installation of soft shoreline stabilization on behalf of the City.
  • See KZC Section 83.300 for complete design and submittal standards.
  • Contact US Corps of Engineers and Washington Fish and Wildlife for their required permits.

 Back to Top

Planning & Building Department
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033

General Inquiries:
Building Questions
Building_Services@kirklandwa.gov
Planning Questions
PlanningInfo@kirklandwa.gov
T. 425.587.3600 | F. 425.587.3232