Residential is the predominant land use in Kirkland. Over 75 percent of the City’s land area is zoned for housing. This includes single family homes as well as multifamily apartments and condominiums. In addition, there has been an increase in mixed-use developments in the City's business districts in the last 15 years. Mixed use developments combine multifamily housing with other uses, such as offices and retail stores. Even as a high percentage of land is available for housing, demand for more housing outweighs the supply. This increases the cost of housing.

The Kirkland Comprehensive Plan is being updated. The update process will help guide how we grow over the next 20 years. We want to hear from you! Email us at 2044ComprehensivePlan@kirklandwa.gov or fill out and submit this comment form.

Comprehensive Plan

K2044 logo for featured tile Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan is the blueprint for how the City will grow over the next 20 years. Each element, including the Housing Element, includes specific goals and policies to guide the growth. The following ideas are central to the City’s Housing Element:

  • Promote neighborhood quality and encourage compatibility between existing uses and infill development.
  • Promote an adequate supply and variety of housing to meet the community’s growing needs.
  • Encourage diversity by promoting housing that is affordable at every income level.
  • Track progress toward meeting housing goals. Add new or adjust existing strategies to ensure progress.


We want to hear from you! Email us at 2044ComprehensivePlan@kirklandwa.gov or fill out and submit this comment form.

Housing Strategy Plan

In 2017, the City Council appointed a Housing Strategy Advisory Group to develop a Housing Strategy Plan. A Housing Strategy Plan identifies a variety of changes the City can make over time to realize its housing goals and policies. Stakeholders from throughout the community were on the Housing Strategy Advisory Group.

The Housing Strategy Advisory Group presented their Housing Strategy Plan(PDF, 11MB)  to the City Council on May 1, 2018. The City Council adopted the Housing Strategy Work Program for 2018-2020 (Resolution-5313(PDF, 2MB)) . Work on the individual strategies is included in the Planning Work Program each year.

Housing Choices

Kirkland strives to make a variety of housing styles available throughout the city. Variety will provide more housing within the fabric of our neighborhoods. It will use existing infrastructure and create different housing sizes to satisfy different people’s needs. Explore details of housing choice options available in Kirkland.

Missing Middle Housing Tour

See how Kirkland is adding more housing options in our community by watching this video of a recent tour middle housing put on by the Seattle King County Realtors. Learn more about middle housing through the tour booklet(PDF, 11MB)

 ADU Market neighborhoodAccessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) offer a unique housing opportunity. ADUs align with Kirkland’s community goals of:
  • Preserving neighborhood character,
  • Increasing housing affordability,
  • Creating a wider range of housing options,
  • Enabling seniors to stay near family, and
  • Using existing housing within our neighborhoods.

 Learn more about ADUs...


Home-and-Tree.jpgCottage housing provides smaller and often more affordable housing choices in residential neighborhoods. Allowing a variety of housing types also encourages creative housing and site design. Kirkland Zoning Code Chapter 113 has rules for cottage homes.  These regulations help ensure compatibility with surrounding residential uses.

Learn more about Cottages...

Duplexes and Triplexes

Duplex and triplex housing provides another housing choice in residential neighborhoods.  Kirkland Zoning Code Chapter 113 has rules for duplex and triplex homes.

Residential Suites

Arete Residential SuitesResidential suites are small single room units where residents share bathroom and/or kitchen space.  This housing type helps to diversify Kirkland's housing stock and provide another affordable housing choice. Check the property's zoning to see if this use is allowed.


Affordable Housing

Many local and regional efforts exist to increase the supply of affordable housing. Learn more about affordable housing and how Kirkland participates in those efforts.  Housing is considered affordable when all housing costs are no more than 30% of a households income. For rental units, this includes rent and utilities. For units that are owned, it includes mortgage, insurance, utilities, taxes, and all homeowner’s dues. When people spend more of their income on housing, they have less money available to spend on food, transportation, health care, savings and other needs.  Most affordable housing programs assist people who earn 80% or less of the King County median income.


The City of Kirkland is a founding member of A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH). ARCH is an organization created in 1993 by Eastside cities and King County. Its purpose is to preserve and increase the supply of housing for low- and moderate-income households throughout East King County.

The ARCH website includes resources for renters, purchasers, residents, and developers of affordable housing. It contains links to lists of affordable apartments, as well as affordable homes that are for sale.

ARCH also manages an annual Housing Trust Fund award process. They distribute money donated by its members to affordable housing developers. The developers use the funds to preserve existing and build new affordable housing.


Since 2010, Kirkland has required new multifamily and mixed-use developments to include affordable housing units. Regulations apply in most of the City and are in Chapter 112 of the Kirkland Zoning Code. The standard requirement is that 10% of the units be affordable.

The City has also adopted Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) regulations. Tax exemptions can be granted for projects that include 10% to 20% of the units as affordable housing. Requirements are in Chapter 5.88 of the Kirkland Municipal Code.

Effects of House Bill 1110 on Kirkland

May 22, 2023

On May 8, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1110 (HB 1110), which is intended to increase middle housing (i.e., more compact and affordable housing, including duplexes, triplexes, cottages, and accessory dwelling units [ADUs]) in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing. The objectives of the bill include accelerating housing production in the State, and in doing so, addressing the severe housing shortage that has had a significant impact on everything from traffic congestion, to homelessness, to the ability of local businesses and organizations to hire critical staff. HB 1110’s allowances for new housing are very similar to the middle housing regulations adopted by Kirkland City Council in March 2020. One of the key benefits of Kirkland’s already-adopted regulations is that the code amendments needed to conform to HB 1110’s requirements are fairly modest in Kirkland. The table below presents a side-by-side comparison of staff's current understanding of HB 1110’s requirements and development regulations already in place in Kirkland. The right-hand column indicates whether code amendments would be required to meet the requirements of this new State law. For additional information, please contact Adam Weinstein, Director of Planning & Building, aweinstein@kirklandwa.gov or 425-587-3227.


Bill Requirements

Kirkland’s Regulations

Do We Comply?

Density (every residential lot)

4 units of middle housing (cottage, duplex/triplex units, accessory dwelling units [ADUs], etc.) on every residential lot



Density (affordable housing and near transit)

6 units/lot if near ¼ mile of “major transit stop”* or if at least 2 units are affordable

4 units/lot, taking into account ADUs

No – will need to increase density allowances around “major transit stops” and when affordable housing is provided

Housing Types

Six of the nine following types of middle housing must be permitted: duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes, townhouses, stacked flats, courtyard apartments, and cottage housing


Yes – although new regulations may be desired to better plan for and accommodate these housing types

Review Process

Middle housing can only be reviewed administratively




Middle housing regulations (setbacks, lot coverage, tree protection, etc.) must not be more restrictive than those for single-family housing

Same, although staff is learning more about the implications of this provision



No on-site parking requirement within ½ mile of major transit stop; no more than 1 space/unit on lots of 6,000 sq. ft. or less; no more than 2 spaces/unit on lots larger than 6,000 sq. ft.

1 parking space/unit for housing within ½ mile of “frequent transit service”

No – parking requirements will need to be reduced near “major transit stops” and on smaller lots


Private Covenants

New private covenants may not be created that preclude the development of middle housing

NA – the City does not regulate or enforce private covenants


Compliance Deadline

6 months after Comprehensive Plan Update is adopted in December 2024


No – code amendments are required to be adopted 6 months after Comprehensive Plan Update


*Kirkland has no existing “Major Transit Stops.” Future Major Transit Stops will include stops along the STRIDE (I-405) Bus Rapid Transit line and K Line (connecting Totem Lake to Bellevue). 

A summary of more housing legislation passed this year can be found in this article by Crosscut.