Sustainability Master Plan

Sustainability-Master-Plan-header-image.jpg

City Council adopted Kirkland's Sustainability Master Plan (SMP)(PDF, 10MB) on December 8, 2020. The plan sets environmental goals for the community. It identifies about 150 actions the City can take to help the community meet its goals.

Building Sustainability through the 3 E's

Simply put, sustainability means meeting our needs while leaving enough for future generations. But sustainability isn't just about the natural environment. Our built spaces -- from roads to buildings to neighborhoods, are also key. The way we build shapes our input on the environment, our health and safety, and who lives here.

Environment

older couple walking on boardwalk at Juanita Bay Park with water covered in lily pads We all share the air, water, and natural resources with each other and wildlife. We need to manage resources thoughtfully so we don't damage them or use them up.

Keeping our air and water clean will make Kirkland healthier for people and wildlife. Using less energy leaves more to share and lowers our climate impact. Reducing our waste and recycling what we can makes the most of materials.

The Plan reduces energy use and emissions, protects the natural environment, and prioritizes how to use materials.

Economy

Kirkland business owner convenience store receiving free spill kit - PHOTO CREDIT ECOSS To be sustainable, the community needs a robust economy where people can earn a living. Having many types of businesses in the city supports residents and other businesses. People can meet their needs locally if a variety of goods and services are available.

The Plan incorporates goals for supporting our local business community. The City can help businesses follow good environmental practices.

Equity

cyclist using bike box at 100th Ave intersection in Juanita near Juanita Village and Michael's A sustainable community represents all its members. Everyone should have access to clean air, clean water, natural spaces, and healthy food. No one group of people should bear the burden of pollution. Walking, biking, and rolling around Kirkland should be safe for all.

The Plan prioritizes actions that will improve environmental outcomes for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) in our community. The City can better listen to people who historically haven't been represented in decision-making. The Plan includes steps to make the community healthier and inclusive.

Learn more about environmental justice at the City.

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

Goals and actions are organized by eight focus areas:

How does the plan help Kirkland meet its goals?

Staff will report back to Council on progress meeting the goals in the Sustainability Master Plan. 

The Sustainability Master Plan establishes a sustainability decision-making tool to help staff make projects more sustainable.

While the Plan ranks actions for the City to take, we need support from residents, businesses, and developers to meet the robust environmental objectives. Learn what you can do at home and at your business to make Kirkland more sustainable. Your help is vital!

Development of the Sustainability Master Plan

Project Purpose and Background

Purpose

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.

Past Environmental Planning at the City

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.

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.

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(PDF, 695KB) - SMP prepared for final adoption

Plan Content and Design

City staff developed the Sustainability Master Plan after collecting input from the community around environmental goals. Subject matter experts (staff members and community experts) provided input on the goals and technical actions. Council provided direction at multiple steps in the process and reviewed the document extensively.

All actions in the plan were evaluated and rated using the sustainability decision-making tool. Ratings were completed by a minimum of two staff members.

The plan is colorful, full of imagery, and designed to be readable by all members of the community. It is considered a living document, and will be updated in the future.