Comprehensive Plan

Kirkland's Comprehensive Plan is a statement of the kind of community Kirkland wants to become, envisioned by those who live, work, recreate and visit here. This statement is set forth in a guiding policy document that describes how Kirkland will manage job and population growth and provide necessary services and facilities to support that growth over a 20-year planning horizon.

The Comprehensive Plan receives a major update every eight years as required by state law.  The current Plan (Kirkland 2035) was adopted in 2015. The Comprehensive Plan is also updated annually to keep it up to date. 

When is the next major Comprehensive Plan update?

In 2022-2024 the City is conducting a major update of the Comprehensive Plan with a completion date of June 2024. Over the next two years the City will conduct a robust community engagement process to update the Plan. For more information about this process visit the Kirkland 2044 Comprehensive Plan update project webpage or contact Janice Swenson at or 425-587-3257.  

Why is the Comprehensive Plan important to me?

The Comprehensive Plan is used as a guide to decide where housing and business growth should occur, what transportation system we will have to support the growth, what types of businesses and jobs we want to encourage, what types of housing we should have in the community, and how we can protect our natural environment. The Plan is the basis for the zoning maps and related zoning regulations, which guide development permits in the City.

How is the Comprehensive Plan used? 
The Plan sets the framework for the City’s land-use pattern and what uses are allowed where.  It also provides the policy basis for building height, landscaping, sign standards, protection of lakes, streams and wetlands, and other development regulations. It is the foundation for the City's zoning and other code regulations and the Zoning Map. The Plan is also the policy basis for decisions in reviewing development projects under the State Environmental Policy Act. Mitigation of impacts for a development proposal under the State Environmental Policy Act can be based on policies in the Plan.

The Plan also establishes our desired public facilities and services for roads, parks, sewer, water, fire and police protection and funding of those facilities and services through the six-year capital improvement program. It provides policies to support economic development that encourages what business and thus jobs and services locate here.

Who decides what the Plan says?
The City engages the community to develop a shared vision for Kirkland based on common values, desires and goals. The Planning Commission prepares a draft Plan based on the community’s vision, state and regional requirements, and planning principles, such as the Smart Growth Principles. Public meetings and hearings are held to get public comments on the draft Plan. The Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the City Council and the Council approves the final Plan. 

What topics are addressed in the Comprehensive Plan?
The Comprehensive Plan consists of three main sections:

  1. General Elements chapters and an Implementation chapter. Some of these are required by the State Growth Management Act (GMA) and others are optional elements that are unique to Kirkland.
  2. Subarea Plan chapters (neighborhood plans and business district plans). These are optional chapter that are also unique to Kirkland.
  3. Shoreline Area chapter that is part of the City's Shoreline Master Program.

General Elements (* indicates the element is required under Growth Management Act):

  • Vision and Framework Goals
  • Introduction and General
  • Community Character
  • Natural Environment
  • Land Use*
  • Housing*
  • Economic Development
  • Transportation*
  • Parks, Recreation and Open Space
  • Utilities*
  • Public Services*
  • Human Services
  • Capital Facilities*
  • Implementation