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About the Comprehensive Plan
What is Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan? 
The Comprehensive Plan is a document adopted by the Kirkland City Council. It describes how Kirkland will continue to provide necessary facilities and services to accommodate job and population growth. Most importantly, it is a statement of the kind of community Kirkland wants to become, envisioned by those who live, work, recreate and visit here. The Comprehensive Plan includes a Vision Statement—a verbal snapshot of our desired character over the next 20 years—and general Framework Goals to implement that Vision.  Read more about the importance of Community Vision Statements [PDF].

Why is the Comprehensive Plan important to me?
The Comprehensive Plan is used as a guide to decide where housing and business growth should occur, what transportation system we will have to support the growth, what types of businesses and jobs we want to encourage, what types of housing we should have in the community, how we can protect our environmentally sensitive areas and what values we want reflected in the character of our community. The Plan is the basis for zoning, which in turn guides development permits in the City. Therefore, it is important to be involved in the formation of the Plan to influence decisions on future development activity. Learn more about “Ways to Engage”.

How is the Comprehensive Plan used? 
The Plan sets the framework for the City’s land-use pattern and what uses are allowed where.  It also provides for the basis of building height, landscaping, sign standards, protection of lakes, streams and wetlands, and other development regulations. It is the foundation for the City's zoning and other code regulations and the Zoning Map. The Plan is also the policy basis for decisions in reviewing development projects under the State Environmental Policy Act. Mitigation of impacts for a development proposal under the State Environmental Policy Act can be based on policies in the Plan.

The Plan also establishes our desired public facilities and services for roads, parks, sewer, water, fire and police protection and funding of those facilities and services through the six-year capital improvement program. It provides policies to support economic development that encourages what business and thus jobs and services locate here.

Who decides what the Plan says?
The City engages the community to develop a shared vision for Kirkland based on common values, desires and goals. The Planning Commission prepares a draft Plan based on the community’s vision, state and regional requirements, and planning principles, such as the Smart Growth Principles. Public meetings and hearings are held to get public comments on the draft Plan. The Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the City Council and the Council approves the final Plan. 

To subscribe to receive agenda meeting notices, go to the E-Bulletins webpage.

What topics are addressed in the Comprehensive Plan?
The Comprehensive Plan consists of three main sections:
  1. General Elements chapters and an Implementation chapter,
  2. Individual subarea plan chapters (business districts and neighborhood plans), and
  3. Shoreline Area chapter that is part of the City's Shoreline Master Program.

The State Growth Management Act specifies “required” elements – those that must be included in the Comprehensive Plan; and “optional” elements – those that can be included by a jurisdiction if desired. Subarea plans are optional chapters but have been part of Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan since 1977.

Below is a list of the general elements required under Growth Management Act (*) and additional optional elements contained in Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan:

  • Vision and Framework Goals
  • Introduction and General
  • 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 currently exist for  Lakeview, Central Houghton, Bridle Trails, Everest, North Rose Hill, South Rose Hill, Totem Lake, North/South Juanita (prior to the June 2011 Annexation of North Juanita), Market, Norkirk, Highlands, and Moss Bay which contains the Downtown Plan. Subarea plans have been approved for Northeast 85th Street subarea and Market Street Corridor.  Neighborhood plans have not been prepared for the newly annexed areas of Finn Hill, North Juanita and Kingsgate.