Sustainability Master Plan


The Sustainability Master Plan (SMP)(PDF, 10MB) was adopted by City Council on December 8, 2020. The plan sets environmental goals and identifies actions to fight climate change, make our natural spaces healthier, and ensure all people in Kirkland can live healthily and get around safely. Environmental justice is integrated throughout the plan. Actions are prioritized that will serve people in our community whose voices have traditionally not been heard in government.

What's in the Sustainability Master Plan (SMP)?

The SMP sets goals and identifies actions that the City can take within eight focus areas:

  1. Energy Supply and Emissions
  2. Buildings and Infrastructure
  3. Land Use and Transportation
  4. Natural Environment and Ecosystems
  5. Sustainable Material Management
  6. Sustainable Governance
  7. Sustainable Business
  8. Healthy Community

The Sustainability Master Plan establishes a sustainability decision-making tool that can help staff evaluate projects and make them more sustainable. All actions in the plan were evaluated and rated using the sustainability decision-making tool.

In addition, the plan includes a section detailing actions community members can take to help make Kirkland more sustainable, a recognition of the need for widespread participation to achieve the plan’s robust environmental objectives.

Development of the Plan and Public Process

View background information from various City Council meetings:

Study Sessions

February 4, 2020(PDF, 3MB) -  Outlines guiding principles for the SMP and format and overall organization of the plan, including the plan’s thematic sections 

September 15, 2020(PDF, 13MB) - Discussion on eight policy-related questions from the SMP Council Comment Matrix  

Regular Meetings

March 1, 2019(PDF, 595KB) - Kickoff meeting

August 4, 2020(PDF, 16MB) - High-level overview of the draft SMP

October 20, 2020(PDF, 1MB) - Review of Council Comment Matrix

November 17, 2020(PDF, 702KB) - Information regarding implementation and project status

December 8, 2020 - Draft SMP prepared for final adoption

Project Purpose and Background

In 2015, the City identified in its Comprehensive Plan update the benefit of having a Sustainability Master Plan. Such a plan could identify best practices that allow Kirkland’s many sustainability strategies to be implemented, measured, and, if needed, adjusted to achieve a livable and sustainable community. The City Council identified the creation of a Sustainability Master Plan as part of the City’s 2019-2020 Work Program.

As a result, the City Manager directed City staff to consult with key stakeholders in our community, including Kirkland neighborhood associations, environmental groups, the business community, the development community, and others, to:

  1. Identify community priorities for environmental, economic, and social sustainability;
  2. Explore specific actions that the City might undertake to support the identified priorities; and
  3. Prioritize the action items in a clear implementation plan.

Outreach Process

Extensive outreach was performed in the community and internally to City staff to learn what we should be focused on to create a more sustainable Kirkland and the action steps that we could take to achieve this goal. Staff utilized the Themed Resident Engagement Kirkland (TREK) methodology and, with the assistance of the City Manager’s Office, hosted two major events, conducted nine focus groups, and published an online survey. All of these provided for robust public participation in the creation of the SMP.

The second major outreach event was a Sustainability Summit held as part of the City’s annual City Hall for All event. Conducted in a similar style as the Sustainability Forum, this event focused on showing the community what staff had done with the information that was provided at the Sustainability Forum, and included a Sustainability Fair, where community members could learn what actions they could take to reduce their impacts on the environment.

After these major outreach events, staff continued to work with a group of local community members that are also involved in environmental issues and in conjunction with groups such as the Sierra Club and People for Climate Action – Kirkland. This group of committed community members served as a sounding board for many good ideas generated by the community and contributed immensely to the development of this plan.

History of Environmental Plans at the City of Kirkland

This is the not the first time the City has created a plan that addressed environmental issues in Kirkland. The Natural Resources Management Plan was adopted in 2002 and many other plans since then have touched on issues such as climate, stormwater, transportation, urban forestry, and housing. These topics are inextricably connected to sustainability. This Sustainability Master Plan is different from all the previously adopted City plans because it pulls together all these broad focus areas into one plan and it includes an Implementation Section that helps decision-makers prioritize which actions to pursue in the near, medium, and long term.