Shoreline Master Program - Final Adoption, Tree Code Update, Parking Garage Improvements, and more!

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this week in kirkland

February 26, 2020

city of kirkland washington

Coming up at Council: Shoreline Master Program- Final Adoption and 132nd Square Park 30% Design Review

The City Council will be discussing a number of important issues during their March 3 meeting. Below we highlight two upcoming items: Shoreline Master Program- Final Adoption and 132nd Square Park 30% Design Review. 

Shoreline Master Program (SMP) 

Ordinance before Council 

The City Council will consider proposed amendments to the SMP including recommendations from planning staff, the Planning Commission (PC), and Houghton Community Council (HCC), as well as recommendations and required changes from the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). Proposed amendments will be presented in two ordinances:

Potential New Work Program Item

The City Council will consider adding non-conforming overwater structure regulations (located within the existing SMP) to the Planning Work Program. At the February 4, 2020 meeting, the Council asked staff to bring back additional information on the process that would be involved in further amending the SMP section related to non-conforming overwater structures, such as boathouses. During the March 3 meeting, staff will present information on the required process including implications to other work program items, timeline, cost, etc.

Pier Length Discussion Items

In response to direction from the City Council, staff will clarify how the length of a pier would be measured relative to adjacent piers, and also share new draft code that considers the average depth of neighboring piers. 

The proposal includes the following aspects:

  • Maintains lesser of the max 150 foot or average lakeward extent of neighboring piers.
  • Utilizes the term lakeward extent to clarify the fixed point out in the lake that doesn’t vary. This is a clarification item intended to tie dimensions to the fixed lakeward extent of piers, not the physical length.
  • Maintains the provision from a previous proposal for piers to extend up to 10% beyond the average of neighboring piers.
  • Considers direction from City Council to allow for additional length based on water depth conditions, but requires analysis through mitigation sequencing and adverse impact on navigation justification.
  • Piers longer than 150 feet require a Shoreline Variance.

Administrative Approval Option

At the direction of the Council, staff reviewed the SMPs of the other jurisdictions on Lake Washington and contacted Ecology for clarification on the regulations of other jurisdictions. Staff discovered that five lakeside jurisdictions allow for the administrative approval option (including Kirkland), and five do not allow for administrative approval. The administrative approval option allows applicants to request State and Federal permits that are more permissive than City regulations. The PC and HCC supported the staff proposal to remove the administrative approval option from the current SMP. Pursuant to KZC section 83.270.4(b), applications pursuing the administrative approval option are only able to seek variation to dimensional standards of pier width, area, and depth for ells. 

132nd Square Park 30% Design Review

The City Council will receive a special presentation on the 132nd Square Park 30% design during their March 3 meeting. To remain on schedule for design and construction of the combined stormwater and park project, staff is seeking final feedback on the 30% design.  

In the design process, there are three critical points of review to ensure continued design consensus, feasibility and budget alignment. They are 30% 60%, and 90%. The percentage designation represents the amount of effort placed into the evolving construction set. Minor changes may be suggested at the 30% design stage since many of the technical considerations have not been fully formed and thus revisions may be accommodated. However, as one moves further through the design development sequence such as 60% or 90% (permitting milestone), recommendations and changes may be considered although they may become costly or cause significant project delay. 

Community feedback was gathered and incorporated into the 30% design from a variety of sources including: individuals that expressed interest during prior stages of this project, 20 property owners directly touching the park’s western and southern edges, an Open House at Kirkland Heights apartments with about 40 attendees, 14 total residences on 130th Ln NE, an Open House in the Council Chambers with about 25 attendees, and a presentation to the Park Board. All comments received will be included in attachment D of the memo that will be available in the Council packet. Notable comments from the surrounding neighbors include concerns about the new hill allowing views into homes, tree plantings blocking homeowner views of the park and Mount Rainier, and concerns about overflow parking spilling into neighborhoods with the additional use of the park. There was also a strong interest in preserving the existing swings and enthusiasm by the youth in Kirkland Heights for even more swings.  

A representation of the 30% design drawings will be available in the Council packet. The refinement of the design from schematic to 30% focuses primarily on parking lot expansion and layout, restroom location, placement of amenities such as the labyrinth and reflexology elements, playground equipment and layout, picnic shelter orientation, play hill topography, site grading, extended pathway layout and connections, and landscaping palette.


132nd square park rendering

Tree Code Update


The City Council is continuing their discussion of the Tree Code update. Below you will find a summary of the Landmark tree discussion that occurred at the February 24 meeting, and a preview of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Tree discussion scheduled to begin during the March 17 City Council meeting. 

Landmark Trees 

In three previous meetings the City Council has discussed the Planning Commission's recommendations regarding Landmark trees. This discussion is ongoing, and this summary is only being provided as a tool to help acquaint the community with the status of this topic. Council meetings can be watched in full on the City website. Thus far the discussion has focused on three elements regarding Landmark trees: 1) Size, 2) Tree Removal, and 3) Mitigation for Removals. Everything being discussed in this section would only apply to homeowner tree removal situations.


The Planning Commission recommended that a Landmark tree be defined as a tree with a trunk diameter of at least 30 inches. The City Council has asserted a preference at this time for defining a Landmark tree as a tree with a trunk diameter of 26 inches.

Tree Removal

The Planning Commission recommended limiting the removal of Landmark trees to one tree every two years. At this time the City Council has stated a preference for allowing up to two trees to be removed at a time (this is similar to the existing code for all tree removals).


The Planning Commission recommended “robust mitigation” for the removal of Landmark trees, but they did not define a specific mitigation standard. The City Council has also expressed an interest in mitigation for the removal of Landmark trees depending on their removal allowances. 

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Trees

At their March 17 meeting the City Council will discuss regulations proposed for Tier 1 and Tier 2 trees. Everything being discussed in this section would only apply to development situations. 

The City Council will be presented with recommendations regarding the retention of trees in development situations. Tier 1 trees are currently defined as Landmark trees or groves. Tier 2 trees include all trees with a trunk diameter greater than 6 inches that are located in the setback. Rules that apply to Tier 1 and Tier 2 trees cover items such as development standards, retention requirements and replanting standards.

The proposed recommended changes to the code have the primary goal of making the code more predictable. City staff anticipates that the March 17 discussion will be continued at the City Council meeting on April 7. 

For more information on the Tree Code update please visit the City website.Comments can be submitted in-person at a City Council meeting and/or via email to or

Parking Garage Improvements

Peter Kirk Municipal Parking Garage

In response to concerns from community members, the City is investing in safety improvements at the Peter Kirk Municipal Parking Garage under the downtown library at 308 Kirkland Ave. The project will replace inoperable or damaged vehicle and pedestrian doors and has included other safety improvements such as replacing the cameras and other technology upgrades. The garage entrance/exit off Kirkland Avenue will be closed this Friday, February 28, while construction crews replace the sliding gates. Signage will instruct drivers to use the garage entrance/exit off Third Street.

When the project is complete this spring, the garage will have an attendant on-site starting at 4 p.m. Doors will be closed and locked during the night between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. The nightly closures will allow for the City to improve the safety, cleanliness, and management of the garage.

The City will post signage and send out updates via social media, the City website, and newsletters before the closures begin.

The City Council will have a special presentation regarding the parking garage night closures during their meeting on Tuesday, March 17 at City Hall.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the closures, please email

Juanita Pier Lighting Upgrades

The Juanita Beach Pier is closed for approximately two weeks starting Monday, February 24 so that crews can complete lighting upgrades. The existing pole lights are over 40 years old and are reaching the end of their useful life. The poles will be removed and replaced by runway/pathway lighting that will illuminate the walking path. The new low-profile ambient lighting will encompass the entire pier (lighting was previously just on the west side), making the path safer for people walking. Thank you for your patience while we complete these safety upgrades.

Juanita Beach Pier

Launch your Career at the Parks Job Fair

job fair on March 25

The City of Kirkland Parks and Community Services department invites the public to attend a job fair on Wednesday, March 25 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the new Parks Maintenance Facility, 12006 120th PL NE, Kirkland, WA, 98034.

The City of Kirkland is seeking seasonal full-time and part-time positions working in the Parks and Recreation divisions. There are approximately 225 seasonal positions available this summer ranging from beach lifeguards and swim instructors to day camp leaders and parks maintenance workers.

“If you love being outside, making connections with people and learning new skills, then plan to attend this job fair,” said Recreation Supervisor Sean Conway. 

Summer job seekers will be able to meet current staff, talk with hiring managers, enjoy refreshments and submit applications onsite. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age to be considered for employment. Attendees are encouraged to bring resumes as well as any relevant certifications (e.g. first aid, CPR).

Additional job specific information is available at

Traffic Alerts for February 26 through March 4

Each week we will provide an ongoing list of Kirkland’s capital projects that will affect traffic. We will list new projects first.  Please consider checking apps such as WAZE or other traffic apps before you drive.

Northeast 132nd Street surface water project (Kingsgate)

Totem Lake area drivers should expect intermittent delays this week on Northeast 132nd Street near EvergreenHealth Medical Center while the City’s contractor repaves the sections of the street its crews dug into to repair a failing stormwater pipe.

Forma Construction will keep two lanes of Northeast 132nd Street open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., between 121st Avenue Northeast and 122nd Place Northeast. The sidewalk on the street’s south side remains closed, as does the eastbound bicycle lane.

Totem Lake Boulevard daytime and nighttime work continues (Totem Lake)

Totem Lake drivers will experience traffic delays on Totem Lake Boulevard this week between 120th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 124th Street while contractors from the City of Kirkland and the Northshore Utility District continue to prepare the urban center for its expanding population of workers and residents.

Marshbank Construction is closing two of Totem Lake Boulevard’s five lanes until May while its crews rebuild the road and a new retaining wall that will help support the road.

As such, drivers will have access to one northbound and one southbound lane. A pedestrian detour is in place along the southwest side of Totem Lake Boulevard. King County Metro has temporarily relocated the northbound bus stop along Totem Lake Boulevard to 120th Avenue Northeast. 

Additionally, Northshore Utility District’s sewer project has progressed, closing the southbound right-turn slip lane between Totem Lake Boulevard and westbound Northeast 124th Street. In early March, Razz Construction will close a short section of Northeast 124th Street between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., just east of Jackson’s Shell Station. 

Razz Construction will also be installing a stormwater system in the slip lane for the City of Kirkland.

Visit or

Totem Lake Detour MapNight Time map

Upcoming Events

Driving While Black

Driving While Black 

Thursday, February 27, 6:00-8:30 p.m. (free registration here)

City Hall, Peter Kirk Room

As Kirkland Talks about Racism, we will take on one of the most controversial topics in contemporary race discussions, "Driving While Black."  Many African Americans and other People of Color report they are pulled over disproportionately by police. Others believe traffic enforcement is largely fair. Our different experiences often contribute to starkly different perceptions when it comes to framing problems and solutions. How do we work towards progress together given those differences? Join us as Kirkland Talks about "Driving While Black."    

ADA survey

Americans with Disabilities Act Survey

Survey closes at 10 a.m. on March 20

The City of Kirkland wants to learn more about the experiences of people with disabilities in our community and identify ways that Kirkland can be a more safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for people with disabilities. We are encouraging all community members to take a few minutes to complete an online survey.

All answers are anonymous, and all information provided will only be used to help improve services and programs in Kirkland. Anyone living, working, or visiting Kirkland is invited to take this survey. We welcome responses from people with disabilities as well as people who don't experience disabilities. If you have a family member with disabilities or are employed or volunteer at an organization that provides services to people with disabilities, we welcome you to fill out this survey on behalf of someone else at their request.

To learn more about the City's ADA Transition Plan please watch our short video

For alternate survey formats (paper, large font, audio, Braille, translation), please contact David Wolbrecht at 425-587-3011 or