Changes to the Houghton Neighborhood Plan

Houghton Neighborhood Plan Update (FYI, and call to action): 

City of Kirkland planning staff have successfully convinced City Councilmembers to approve a new neighborhood planning process. Previously, changes to the plan (which happen once a decade) would include thorough discussions with residents, whereas now city planners have worked in isolation and proposed revisions to our (and other) neighborhood plans. We have attached to this email a PDF of the Neighborhood Plan with the Planning Commission’s edits in red.

While the HNA will respond to the city with point by point feedback, we request you also write to the planning commission with your thoughts (see how at end of this email).

Here are the HNA’s main concerns: 

    1. Woven throughout are language changes that promote high density, which does not reflect the feedback we hear consistently from neighbors. As an example, references to “medium density” have been replaced with “higher density” throughout. We are not clear what consequence this change could have over the next 10 years.
    2. The city planners are moving Transportation and Infrastructure to a different portion of the Comprehensive Plan, indicating it’s not a neighborhood issue. HNA believes this is a key issue for us, as both these topics should be discussed together with density. Specifically – the thoroughfares serving Houghton are 1 lane each direction, and already get quite busy during school / office hours. We are not sure how Houghton can sustain increased density without wider roads. Please see the city circulated rendering of how the 108th/68th intersection would look like with 5 story buildings. We ask – how will our infrastructure handle the increased volume? We are dissatisfied with the suggestion that visitors will use public transport, there has been no specifics on how that will become a viable option for Houghton / surrounding residents.
    3. There is an implication that increased density leads to greater affordability. We feel this should be a discussion with examples, we have seen contrasting views among our neighbors. 
    4. The commission has been removing references to Houghon’s character, and replacing the word “density” with “intensity”. We are not clear what this new language specifically means, and how it affects the city’s plans for Houghton.
    5. The previous plan’s language to “buffer” NWU activities on all sides to reduce visual, noise, privacy impact to surrounding residents has been replaced with a call for “thoughtful design”, which feels very un-specific.

Lastly, we believe this new siloed approach to planning minimizes resident engagement instead of increasing it. Neighborhoods are asked to review the changes proposed by planning commissioners offline, respond with questions and edits and find more ways to engage on their own.

In addition to the above concerns, HNA has made the following requests:

    1. We have asked for 108th to be renamed Houghton Boulevard, to enhance a visible neighborhood marker which will enhance the neighborhood character. 
    2. We have asked the neighborhood to be formally renamed Houghton from legacy Central Houghton, as there are no other surrounding Houghtons necessitating the “Central” modifier. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: By July 10th, send a personal letter to the planning commissioners with your remarks.

    • Talk about why you live in Houghton (what creates its character), what changes you object to, and anything else you’d like to see or share.

City rendering of 5 stories throughout the Houghton Commercial Center


Houghton Neighborhood Association

Donate! Houghton Neighborhood Association is a 501c4. Donations large or small help us fund operations and activities to support our mission. Thank you to our neighbors who have donated!

Zelle Venmo @Houghton-NA. PayPal

Social: Instagram, Facebook Group, Nextdoor–kirkland–wa/ Website

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *