The Basics

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The City of Kirkland 2044 Comprehensive Plan will help the City of Kirkland guide growth over the next 20 years.

2044 Comprehensive Plan Update

The City of Kirkland 2044 Comprehensive Plan update process will help us guide growth over the next 20 years. Comprehensive plans are guiding policy documents that describe how a city will manage its growth and provide the resources that growth requires.  A comprehensive plan must be consistent with State, Regional, and County policies. Simultaneously the citywide Transportation Strategic Plan is being updated. The draft Comprehensive Plan policies for each Element or chapter are available for review and comment now. See the various topic areas for copies of the drafts. 

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For more detailed information:

  • Visit each Element topic area webpage for draft policies.
  • See this schedule(PDF, 193KB)   for upcoming meetings and topics (dates subject to change).
  • Visit the Get Involved webpage for how you can participate in the update process to help shape how Kirkland looks in the future.
  • Visit the Planning Commission or City Council agenda webpages to view meeting materials prepared in advance of the meeting dates and how to attend. 
  • Visit the 2044 Documents Library to see the informational handout about the Comprehensive Plan (in your language) and how you can submit comments.

Planning Process

The update process will be an opportunity to revisit the policies in the existing Comprehensive Plan to see if they are still relevant, need revising per State, Regional, and County requirements. To help develop a comprehensive plan, the City engages the community to develop a shared vision for Kirkland based on common values, desires and goals. Using public meetings, hearings, surveys, focus groups and other tools to engage the community, and regulatory requirements city staff revises the policies and prepares briefings for the Planning Commission and city Boards and Commissions to consider. A draft plan is prepared based on the community’s vision, state and regional requirements such as Puget Sound Regional Council Vision 2050 multi-planning policies, and planning best practices, such as Smart Growth Principles that promote growth in compact, walkable, urban centers to avoid sprawl.

The Planning Commission holds public meetings and hearings to get comments on the draft plan. Based on public feedback, the Planning Commission may revise the draft plan. The Planning Commission then makes a recommendation to the City Council and, if the Council agrees with the recommendation, the Council approves the final plan. Adoption of the 2044 Plan must be adopted before December 2024. 



Key Themes

The 2044 Comprehensive Plan goals and policies are being updated with the following themes in mind:



What's in the Comprehensive Plan?

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) determines what is included in each comprehensive plan.

The Kirkland 2044 Comprehensive Plan covers many policy areas including:

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

Neighborhood Plans

There are 14 neighborhoods within Kirkland. Each neighborhood has it's own Neighborhood Plan chapter within the City's Comprehensive Plan. In 2023-2024 the City is working with the Juanita Neighborhood and Kingsgate Neighborhood Plan to update their Plans. For all other neighborhood plans, text will be updated through an equity lens and historic text from each neighborhood consolidated into a citywide history of Kirkland document that will be included as an Appendix to the Comprehensive Plan.  

For each neighborhood, these plans address topics such as:

  • Historical Context
  • Natural Environment
  • Land Use
  • Transportation (pedestrian and bicycle paths)
  • Open Space and Parks
  • Public Services and Facilities
  • Urban Design



Environmental Review

On October 18, 2023 the City issued a Determination of Significance and Scoping Notice(PDF, 334KB)  to allow people to submit comments on what should be evaluated in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the 2044 Comprehensive Plan update.  The scoping period ended on November 17, 2023. View all the scoping comments(PDF, 3MB)    that were received. 

The City of Kirkland believes that the 2044 Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Plan updates will have beneficial environmental impacts in that it seeks to shape future growth in a way that promotes housing choice, transit access, transportation mode shift, open space protection, and sustainability. However, in order to thoroughly evaluate the potential environmental effects of the Comprehensive Plan, and to provide an opportunity for additional public comment, the City has elected to prepare a Supplemental Environment Impact Statement (SEIS) pursuant to RCW 43.21C.030 (2)(c).  

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) will study two alternatives, including 1) the No Action Alternative (continuation of the current Comprehensive Plan polices, land use, Zoning and transportation system that exists today) and 2) a Likely Growth/Increased Capacity Action Alternative that includes change in land use, change to growth levels and patterns, infrastructure investments, and service needs. The SEIS will supplement the 2015 Comprehensive Plan Update & Totem Lake Planned Action - Final Environmental Impact Statement (November 2015) and the NE 85th Street Subarea Plan Final SEIS (December 2021). The draft SEIS should be available for review and comment by June 2024.

The Likely Growth/Increased Capacity Action Alternative will study focused land use changes in specific locations, a supportive transportation network, and other policy changes identified as study issues in order to identify any potential unavoidable significant impacts that may need to be mitigated. The following list of focused land use changes will be evaluated (subject to change based on scoping comments received): 

Location of Potential Land Use Change (Neighborhood)

Description of Change For Study

More Information

Par Mac Business Park (Totem Lake)

Density increases (including height increases) to accommodate up to 1,200 units of housing and up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space.

Submitted as a Community-initiated Amendment Request (CAR); File No. CAM22-00873

Totem Lake Southern Industrial Commercial Subarea (Totem Lake)

Zoning changes to enable increases in capacity for housing units and office space.

Added to study area for Par Mac Business Park CAR per Council direction; File No. CAM22-00023

Goodwill Site (Juanita)

Density increases (including height increases) to accommodate up to 600 units of housing and up to 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Submitted by the property owner for consideration with the ongoing Juanita Neighborhood Plan update, File No. CAM23-0554

Michael’s Site (Juanita)

Density increases (including height increases) to accommodate up to 350 units of housing and commercial space.

Submitted by the property owner for consideration with the ongoingJuanita Neighborhood Plan update,File No. CAM23-0554

Transit Corridors

Density increases to accommodate additional middle housing-type units within walking distance of bus lines and stops.

Suggested by public comments, and directed for study by City Council.

In addition, see summary of Potential Study Issues and Policy Changes(PDF, 172KB)  for Elements  of the Comprehensive Plan.  


Common Terms

You may encounter unfamiliar terms while you learn about the Kirkland 2044 Comprehensive Plan. The following are some definitions to help you better understand the plan and its development process. These definitions are not official and have been simplified. For the official definitions of these terms and other terms you may encounter, please review the glossary within the current Comprehensive Plan.

Critical Areas: Types of areas and ecosystems that the State of Washington has designated as in need of protection from development.

Density: How much housing exists in an area or how many people live in an area.

Development: Adding or changing buildings on a piece of land or changing the way a piece of land is used, including dividing the land into smaller areas of use. 

Growth Management: Guiding new development to prevent damage to a community and to boost the benefits of living in that community.

Multimodal Transportation: Includes different types and methods of getting around, including cars, public transit, walking, bicycling, and ride-sharing.

Visioning: Processes involving the public that determine values and ideals for the future of a community

Vision Statement: a summary of the desired character and characteristics of the community 20 years in the future that provides the ultimate goal for community planning and development.

Zoning: designating an area for certain uses, types of construction, and kinds of buildings.