Starting in June 2018, the Planning Commission held several study sessions to review background information related to the City’s tree code, look at progressively complex code issues and consider potential changes to the code. The Houghton Community Council and City Council received briefings on tree code issues throughout the project as it progressed.
From late 2018 to mid-2019, staff met with a stakeholder group, conducted analyses of emerging code concepts, developed preliminary code language and launched a public outreach campaign to reintroduce the project to the greater community. A joint public hearing was held on November 5, 2019 with the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council to obtain public feedback on the draft code.
The Planning Commission delivered their recommendations for amendments to the tree code(PDF, 586KB) to the City Council 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 trees 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, Kirkland Municipal Code 1.12.100, which went into effect in May 2020.