Code Enforcement


The City's Code Enforcement Program supports the City's public safety and environmental protection mission by investigating potential or actual violations of the City, public health, and other applicable regulations. Various City departments and divisions investigate complaints depending on the nature of the violation. 

How does the City of Kirkland enforce its Zoning and Municipal Codes?

The Kirkland Municipal Code authorizes City staff to investigate any valid citizen initiated complaints or proactive complaints generated by City staff. If a violation has occurred, a Code Enforcement Officer or other authorized City personnel will try to resolve it first through education, voluntary compliance, and/or negotiation. If this proves ineffective, then more formal enforcement proceedings may commence, including a hearing before the Hearing Examiner.

Questions involving procedures and/or types of zoning or municipal code violations subject to the City jurisdiction and review should be directed to the Code Enforcement Program representatives in the Planning and Building Department.  Some violations may involve outside agencies.  Contact information for various activities can be found in the Typical Code Enforcement Items list below. 

Typical Code Enforcement items

Problems Involving Land Use / Zoning Issues

     General Topic or Type of Problem                        Responsible City Department         
  • Animals (number and use)
  • Building Height
  • Building Setbacks
  • Fences on Private Property
  • Home Occupations (Businesses)
  • Illegal Land Use
  • Junk and Junk Vehicles
  • Outdoor Use, Activity, and Storage
  • Oversize Vehicles on Private Property
  • Signs
Planning and Building Department
Phone: 425-587-3600


Environmental Problems

General Topic or Type of Problem Responsible City Department
  • Draining, ditching, filling, or clearing in or near streams or wetlands
  • Work within steep slopes
  • Impacts to shoreline and waters of Lake Washington
  • Air Quality
  • Lighting
  • Glare
  • Odor
  • Tree removal on private property
  • Toxic lawn chemicals used near stream, wetland, or lake 
Planning and Building Department
Phone: 425-587-3600
  • Oily sheen or other contaminant seen in a lake or stream
  • Dumping of yard or pet waste near a stream or wetland
  • Land surface modification (grading)
Public Works Maintenance
Phone: 425-587-3900
  • Sewage discharge from broken sewer lines or equipment malfunction
Public Works Maintenance
Phone: 425-587-3900
  • Animals (Strays)
Kirkland Animal Services
Phone: 425-577-5656
  • Storage of hazardous materials
King County Hazardous Waste Management
Phone: 206-296-4692
  • Water quality problems in unincorporated King County
King County Water and Land Resource Division
Phone: 206-477-4811
  • Large oil spills
Department of Ecology
Phone: 1-800-645-7911
  • Septic tank functions
King County Public Health
Phone: 206-477-8050


Problems Involving Streets and Parking Lots

General Topic or Type of Problem Responsible City Department
  • Blowing debris and/or yard waste into the street
  • Chlorinated swimming pool water draining to the street and/or any storm water drains
  • Landscaping dirt piles in the street
  • Mud or muddy water entering the street and/or any storm water drains
  • Paint, motor oil, or other contaminant poured or allowed to flow into the street and/or any storm water drains
  • Restaurants dumping food or grease into storm water drains on public or private property
  • Soapy water entering the street and/or any storm water drains (washing vehicles, buildings, or sidewalks)
  • Vehicle fluids leaking into the street and/or any storm water drains
Public Works Maintenance
Phone: 425-587-3900
  • City capital improvement construction project complaint (City Initiated Projects)
  • Sidewalk obstructions, missing signs*, blocking vehicle access or vision
  • Sign distance at intersections
Public Works, City Hall
Phone: 425-587-3800
  • Traffic related spills
Public Works Maintenance
Phone: 425-587-3900
  • Graffiti

On Public Property: Public Works: 425-587-3900
On Private Property: Planning and Building Department: 425-587-3600

If in process, call the Police Non-Emergency line: 425-587-3400

If located in WSDOT ROW can be reported via the graffiti reporting page 

Graffiti at bus stops can be reported to King County Metro at 206-477-3850

  • Vehicles parked for several days on a City street without movement, blocking vehicles
Phone: 425-587-3400
  • Tree removal or pruning (unauthorized)

Street Trees: Public Works, Public Grounds
Phone: 425-587-3900

Park Trees: Parks and Community Services
Phone: 425-587-3340

Private Trees: Planning and Building Department
Phone: 425-587-3600

* The Code Enforcement Officer also picks up improperly placed or sized signs within the public right-of-way. Contact Code Enforcement 425-587-3600 if you are missing a sign(s) from a City right-of-way.



Building and Construction Problems

General Topic or Type of Problem Responsible City Department
  • Dangerous buildings or structures constructed or demolished without permits

Planning and Building Department
Phone: 425-587-3600

  • Excessive dust in the air from construction or demolition site
Public Works, City Hall
Phone: 425-587-3800
  • Sewage discharge from broken sanitary sewer lines or equipment malfunction
Public Works Maintenance
Phone: 425-587-3900
  • Drainage problems
Public Works, City Hall
Phone: 425-587-3800
  • Hours of construction and heavy equipment operation exceeding Kirkland Zoning Code 115.25 Standards

Monday - Friday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM: Planning and Building Department
Phone: 425-587-3600

After hours / weekends / Holidays: Police non-emergency line: 425-577-5656




 Additional Information

How do I report a suspected code violation?

For in-progress activities that must be stopped immediately to prevent irreparable harm:

  • During City Hall Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, call the Planning & Building Department at 425-587-3600.
  • Evenings/Weekends/Holidays exceeding Kirkland Zoning Code 115.25 standards, call the Police non-emergency line at 425-577-5656.  For emergencies, dial 911.

For non-emergency complaints:

  • Submit question and/or complaint online at Our Kirkland 
  • For information on how to obtain a hard copy version of the complaint form, Contact the Planning and Building Department at 425-587-3600.

The complaint must include the following:

  1. The address, telephone number and email of the person making the complaint,
  2. A clear description of the nature of the alleged violation,
  3. Address of the alleged violation and the name of the alleged violator (if known), and
  4. Any other pertinent information (photos or plans).

If I file a complaint, will my name be confidential?

Not necessarily.  Complaints submitted to the City constitute a public record and may be subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56).  In addition, your name is required so we can keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and/or request further information as needed.

Complaints regarding life, health, safety, and environmental concerns are investigated, even if the complaint is made anonymously.

What happens after my complaint is filed?

The City investigates every written complaint received. As the complainant, you will be notified of the result of the investigation and any enforcement action to be taken to achieve code compliance. The Code Enforcement Program prioritizes complaints, pursuing life safety and environmental impact issues first and foremost.  While all complaints will be pursued, lower prioritized items may take additional time to rectify and complete.   

Does the City have an ombud program?

The City’s Ombud Program is available to assist you:

  • If you are unsure about which department to file your code enforcement complaint
  • If you believe you received unfair treatment during a code enforcement case investigation
  • If you believe city staff has not provided you with quality customer service
  • If you seek information about other agencies that could help you