Tree Code Amendments

STATUS - The City Council will review the latest draft of the regulations at their meeting on January 18, 2022.


Tree protection ordinances are one of the ways cities balance urban growth with preserving a healthy, sustainable and livable community.

The scope of this code amendment project is to

  • Support the goals established in Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan (community visioning exercise shown at right)
  • Meet objectives in the Urban Forestry Strategic Management Plan(PDF, 3MB)
  • Address issues and challenges that have arisen since the last tree code revision in 2010
  • Update the code so that it is effective and practical to use
Meeting Information

View meeting packet information for Planning Commission (PC), Houghton Community Council (HCC), and /or the City Council by clicking on the appropriate tab below




City Council


Where are we in the process and how do I access the draft code?

The project started in June 2018 with Planning Commission (PC) study sessions. The PC reviewed background information, looked at progressively complex code issues and studied data/staff analysis to consider potential changes to the code. The Houghton Community Council and City Council received briefings throughout the project as it progressed.

From late 2018 to mid-2019, staff held outreach events, met with stakeholders, conducted analyses of emerging code concepts and developed preliminary code language. A joint public hearing with the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council was held on November 5, 2019 to obtain public feedback on the draft code.

The Planning Commission delivered their recommendations to the City Council for amendments to the tree code(PDF, 586KB) at a January 21, 2020 study session. Key points of the Planning Commission's recommendations include: 

  • A new Landmark tree designation
  • Increased tree removal allowances in relationship to property size
  • A new condition rating system for trees on development sites
  • Requirements for tree retention decisions early in the short plat/subdivision design process
  • Specific rules on which trees to retain on development sites and how

In early 2020, the City Council began to consider changes to the draft code, when the project was put on hold until further notice due to the COVID pandemic response. In the interim, the City Council adopted new rules for the enforcement of current tree codes in Kirkland Municipal Code 1.12.100, which went into effect in May 2020. 

The City Council resumed the tree code amendment project at the May 18, 2021 City Council meeting. Adoption of the regulations is anticipated in early 2022. Visit the City Council webpage to see the most recent drafts of the regulations. 

What are some of the main issues?

Each short article below presents an issue involved with updating the tree code. These articles appeared in This Week in Kirkland, the City's weekly online newsletter as part of the public outreach related to the tree code amendment project. 

How can I get involved?

The public hearing has been closed for written and oral testimony and the Planning Commission has made their recommendations on the draft code to the City Council. You can view all public comments on the tree code amendment project received up to December 12, 2019. Please visit this web page for updates, attend public meetings, or contact staff for more information. Thank you for being engaged in your community!

  • In-person comments may be given under Items from the Audience portion of the City Council meetings
  • Contact the City Council through the Our Kirkland customer service portal