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Citizen Amendment Requests

Citizen Amendment Requests to Amend the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code, and Zoning Map 

Upcoming Meetings - none

2017 Citizen Amendment Requests
DATE: December 12, 2017  
ITEM: City Council Final Decision

On December 12, 2017, the City Council took action on the Lee Johnson and Alavi Citizen Amendment Requests (CAR’s) in conjunction with the annual Comprehensive Plan update.  Follow the links provided below for more information.

Lee Johnson Chevrolet Mazda Request

Alavi Request

Juanita Business District 4 /Michael’s Request

​While the City Council made the threshold decision to advance the Juanita Business District 4/ Michael's Citizen Amendment Request in 2018, the owner of the Michael's property withdrew his proposal to change the zoning and shoreline regulations to allow unlimited residential density and increased height for a future mixed use development.  The owner's reasons for the withdrawal were that the critical area constraints and real estate market made the contemplated redevelopment options at this site financially infeasible. 

Residence XII Request

While the City Council made the threshold decision to advance the Residence XII Citizen Amendment Request to Phase II of the CAR process in March 2017, the City has determined that it will be more efficient to include this request in the bundle of Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan amendments to be considered for the Totem Lake Business District this year.  A Planning Commission study session where the Residence XII request and other proposed changes for Totem Lake will be considered is tentatively scheduled for July 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm.  Please contact Dorian Collins, Senior Planner, at or (425) 587-3249 with questions, and refer to file CAM17-00371. 


The City uses a systematic process to change the Comprehensive Plan, and Zoning Map or Zoning Code necessary to implement the Plan amendment.  There are two ways changes can be made.  The City can initiate the change; or an amendment may be initiated by the public – known as citizen amendment requests (sometimes referred to as citizen initiated requests).

Citizen Amendment Requests (CARs) may be made by an individual, property owner, neighborhood organization, or other group. CARs are considered once every other year, during odd years, typically during the annual review of the Comprehensive Plan. An application is required and must be submitted to the Planning Department no later than December 1st of the year preceding its review. The next deadline to submit a CAR application is December 1, 2018 in order to be considered in 2019.

Citizen Amendment Requests may be submitted to amend any aspect of the Comprehensive Plan such as the land use map, the general elements, or a neighborhood plan.  A citizen-initiated proposal may also request an amendment to the Zoning Map and the Zoning Code that is associated with the Comprehensive Plan amendment.  In the case of a Citizen Amendment Request for a specific site where the property owner is not making the request, the applicant must notify the property owner in writing of the request. 

Citizen Amendment Requests that involve a significant change in use or in density for a specific property, or a major policy change in a neighborhood plan may be deferred for consideration when the applicable neighborhood plan is updated.  An example of a significant change would be a rezone of residential properties located on the perimeter of a business district to commercial or office land use.

Citizen Amendment Request Process and Schedule (dates are subject to change)  

Each Citizen Amendment Request that is submitted must go through a two phase process.  During the Phase I, the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council (if the site is in its jurisdiction), makes a “threshold review” of all Citizen Amendment Requests and recommends to the City Council which ones it believes deserve further consideration based upon criteria specified in the Kirkland Zoning Code.  The City Council then makes the decision on which amendment requests will advance for further review. 

During Phase II, the merits of the proposal are evaluated and potential options are considered.  The City may expand the geographical study area beyond that which is proposed by the applicant.   The Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council (if the site is in its jurisdiction) hold a joint public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council.  The City Council considers the recommendation and makes the final decision on the request.  If the Citizen Initiated Request is located in Houghton, the Houghton Community Council may approve or disapprove the requested change after the City Council decision. 

A Citizen Amendment Request to any component of the City’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), including the policies in the Shoreline Area Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan and the shoreline regulations in Chapters 83 and 141 of the Kirkland Zoning Code, must meet the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DOE) amendment process found in Chapter 173-26 WAC.  This is a lengthy and complex process. The DOE must approve any amendment to the SMP by finding it consistent with the State Shoreline Management Act and the State Guidelines of Chapter 173-26 WAC.  Any change to the land use designation and/or zoning of a site specific property must be consistent with the City’s adopted Shoreline Environment Designation Map or the map must be amended which must also go through the same DOE process.

Neighbors and community members are encouraged to participate in both phases of the Citizen Amendment Request process including sending comments to or addressing the Planning Commission, Houghton Community Council (where applicable) at public meetings and hearings, and City Council as the requests are considered. 

Phase I - Threshold Determination
1.  Citizen Initiated Request application due to Planning Dept.  Dec. 1, 2018
2. Study sessions with the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council (if applicable) culminating in a recommendation to City Council.  Feb. - March 2019
3.  City Council reviews recommendation at a public meeting, and makes a threshold decision to determine which requests should be further reviewed by the City.  Council also determines which requests will go to Phase II in the current year of review or a subsequent year, depending on the number of requests, available resources, and the Planning Department's work program.  April - May 2019            

Phase II - Decision on Citizen Initiated Requests
1.  Houghton Community Council (if site is within its jurisdiction) and Planning Commission study the selected CAR's.  For site specific CAR's the study area may be expanded to include other adjacent properties, if appropriate. June - August 2019 or Winter-Spring 2020
2. Public Hearings with the Houghton Community Council and Planning Commission culminating in recommendations as to whether or not the Plan, Zoning Code, and/or Zoning Map should be amended. July - October 2019 or Summer-Fall 2020
3. City Council meeting to review and consider recommendations by both bodies and then approves, denies, or modifies the request.  The City Council may hold a study session on the request before final action.  The City Council then takes final action at a regular meeting typically as part of other city-initiated amendments.  Dec. 2019 or 2020
4. Houghton Community Council, if request is within its jurisdiction, approves or disapproves the ordinance adopted by the City Council.  Dec. or Jan. 2019 or 2020
5. If the request involves any policies in the Shoreline Area Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, the shoreline regulations in KZC Chapter 83 and 141, or the Environmental Designation Map, the State Department of Ecology's (DOE) process for amendments to the City's Shoreline Master Program must be followed and may include a hearing held by DOE.  DOE must approve the request in order for the decision to take effect.  


Planning & Building Department
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033

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T. 425.587.3600 | F. 425.587.3232