Planning Commission Orientation Manual

1. Overview

Welcome to the Kirkland Planning Commission!  Thank you for volunteering your talents and time to participate in this important activity. Serving on the Commission will allow you to be a part of two great Kirkland traditions: strong citizen involvement in civic affairs; and active planning of community growth. In the process, you'll also learn a lot and will undoubtedly enjoy yourself.

What exactly will you do? This online manual was created to help answer that question. While there is no substitute for learning on the job, the information in this manual will assist you in getting up to speed as quickly as possible and can serve as an ongoing reference to help you function effectively during your tenure on the Commission.  As you will see, the manual is actually a collection of documents borrowed from a variety of sources. It is anticipated that the manual will be revised as time goes on to reflect changes to the documents within or to add other useful information.

2. City Staff and Officials

Contains the contact information for Planning and Building Department Staff and City officials.

A. City Council Contacts
B. Planning Staff Telephone Extensions

3. City Mission and Organization(PDF, 993KB)

Includes information about the mission and organization of the City and the Planning and Building Department.

A. City Mission and Values
B. Council Philosophy
C. City Organization Chart
D. Planning & Building Department Mission Statement
E. Planning & Building Department Organizational Chart
F. Planning & Department Overview
G. Planning Work Program

4. Role of the Planning Commission(PDF, 204KB)

Provides general information about the role and functions of the Planning Commission.

A. Planning Commissioner Service Commitment Pledge
B. Statement of Ethical Principles for Planning
C. Kirkland Advisory Boards or Commissions Appointment Policy
D. Planning Commission Mission Statement
E. Rules of Procedure of the Kirkland Planning Commission

F. Guidelines for Planning Commission Recommendations to Council
G. Robert’s Rules Simplified

5. Tips for Being an Effective Planning Commissioner(PDF, 283KB)

Includes tips for being an effective planning commissioner.

A. Welcome to the Commission! Booklet #
B. Come to Order: Getting Organized for Business Booklet #
C. An Effective Team
D. The Communicated Message @
E. Planning Commission/Elected Officials/Staff Relations
F. Effective Commissioners’ Do’s and Don’ts
G. The Riggins Rules #

6. Legal Issues(PDF, 174KB)

Addresses legal considerations that are important to the conduct of the Planning Commission business.

A. Development Decision Making
B. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities in Planning
C. Conflict of Interest
D. Appearance of Fairness
E. Open Meetings Act

7. Planning Laws & City Planning Documents(PDF, 198KB)

Discuss a number of important state planning laws and provides an overview of City plans and development regulations.

A. Growth Management Act *
B. Planning and Environmental Legislation *
C. Shoreline Management Act*
D. Platting and Permits: The Development Process *
E. City Plans & Regulations: Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code, Subdivision Ordinance, Shoreline Master Plan & SEPA Review *
F. Basic Planning Tools(PDF, 10MB)  

8. Supplemental Information

<a href<a="" title="Now-Youre-On-the-Board.pdf" href="/files/sharedassets/public/planning-amp-building/planning-commission/orientation-manual/now-youre-on-the-board.pdf" target="_self">Now That You're On the Board
A Short Course on Local Planning Resource Guide
The Department of Commerce provides A Short Course on Local Planning, an overview of land use planning laws in Washington State.  The free training is offered throughout the state, and registration is available online. The Short Course Resource Guide is available for review.

#Source: Planning Commissioners Journal

*Source: Planning Association of Washington and the Department of Commerce in "A Short Course on Local Planning Resource Guide".

@ Source: Dr. Albert Mehrabian, UCLA

Should you have any questions, your staff contact for procedural matters, agenda items and general questions is Deputy Planning and Building Director Jeremy McMahan.  He can be reached at or (425)587-3229.