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. The project is expected to continue through the fall.