Master Plan Review Process

Master Plan Review Process

Provided by the City of Kirkland Planning and Building Department

Step 1: Neighborhood Open House(s)

The purpose of the open house is for the applicant to present the proposal to neighbors and other interested parties and to provide them an opportunity to offer suggestions and comments prior to submittal of the application to the City.

Step 2: Application Submittal

Northwest University will submit a Master Plan zoning permit application packet (including development plans, parking demand study, traffic impacts analysis, arborist report, etc).

Step 3: Completeness Review

Within 28 calendar days after the date of submittal of the application, Planning Staff will issue a written determination of whether the application is complete, and, if the application is not complete, what must be submitted by the applicant in order for the application to be complete.

Step 4: Notice of Application

Once the application is deemed complete, Staff will mail a Notice of Application to all property owners within 300 feet of the subject property, all adjacent residents, and the Central Houghton Neighborhood Association. Additionally, a notice will be published in the Seattle Times and Public Notice Signs will be installed near each street that adjoins the campus.

This will be the public’s first chance to review the submitted application and provide comments to be addressed in the Staff Advisory Report to the Hearing Examiner. Comments can be submitted until the close of the Public Hearing, but comments received during the initial comment period will be addressed in this report.

Step 5: SEPA Review and Determination

The SEPA threshold determination is the formal decision by the City as to whether a proposal is likely to cause a significant adverse environmental impact for which mitigation cannot easily be identified. The primary focus of this determination will be traffic impacts. A Notice of Determination will be distributed and posted and is appealable. An appeal would be heard as part of the Public hearing.

Step 6: Notice of Joint Public Hearing

After Staff has completed its review, a Joint Public Hearing date will be set. A Notice of Hearing will be sent out to all persons that received the Notice of Application and all persons that submitted comments during the initial comment period at least 3 weeks prior to the Hearing Date. Additionally, a notice will be published in the Seattle Times and posted on the Public Notice Signs. Staff will issue an Advisory Report at least 1 week prior to the Hearing.

Step 7: Joint Public Hearing

The joint public hearing will be before the Houghton Community Council (HCC) and the City’s Hearing Examiner. City Staff, the applicant and associated representatives, and the public will be given the chance to testify regarding the project. Additionally, all letters submitted prior to or at the hearing will be submitted into the hearing record. After the all testimony is taken and the hearing is closed, the HCC opens a Special Meeting and prepares its recommendation to the Hearing Examiner.

After considering all of the information, testimony, comments and the HCC recommendation, the Hearing Examiner will issue a written recommendation to the City Council to grant the application; modify and grant the application; or deny the application. The recommendation will be mailed to all parties of record. A Party of Record is the applicant, any person who submitted written or oral comments prior to the close of Public Hearing, or City Staff.

The Hearing Examiner recommendation can be challenged by any Party of Record within 7 days of the recommendations distribution date. A challenge is heard by the City Council as part of their decision process.

Step 8: City Council Decision

Within 45 days of the issuance of the Hearing Examiner Recommendation, the City Council will consider the application at a regularly scheduled Council Meeting.

After consideration of the entire record and the Hearing Examiner’s Recommendation, the City Council shall adopt an ordinance to approve the application; modify and approve the application; or deny the application.

The City Council could conclude, based on a challenge to the recommendation or its own review of the recommendation, that the record compiled by the Hearing Examiner is incomplete or inadequate for the City Council to make a decision on the application. The City Council may by motion remand the matter to the Hearing Examiner with the directions to reopen the hearing and provide supplementary findings and conclusions on the matter or matters specified in the motion.

Step 9: Houghton Community Council Final Action

If the City Council approves the application, the approval shall become effective only upon:

  • Approval by a majority of the entire membership of the Houghton Community Council. Such approval shall be by resolution; or
  • Failure of the Houghton Community Council to disapprove the application within 60 calendar days after City Council adopts the ordinance or resolution granting the application. The vote to disapprove the application must be approved by resolution by a majority of the entire membership of the Community Council.

City Staff Contact

If you have any questions regarding this project, please feel free to contact Tony Leavitt (Project Planner) via email ( ) or at 425-587-3253.

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