In terms of land use, the Moss Bay Neighborhood is Kirkland’s most complex area. Situated on the shores of Lake Washington, the area contains a wide variety of land uses, including Downtown retail businesses, industrial activities, offices, well established single-family areas, large-scale multifamily development, a marina, a baseball facility, a post office, and the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

While the neighborhood is often characterized by the commercial activities associated with Kirkland’s Downtown, there are considerable opportunities for residential and mixed use development. A major policy emphasis for the Moss Bay Neighborhood is to encourage commercial activities in the Downtown, and to expand “close-in” housing opportunities by encouraging dense residential and mixed uses in the perimeter of the Downtown (Figure MB-1).

The Moss Bay Neighborhood is within the Greater Downtown Urban Center as designated in the King County Countywide Planning Policies (see Land Use Element Figure LU-2 for Urban Center boundaries). The City also submitted an application to designate the Moss Bay Neighborhood and the NE 85th Station Area as the City’s second Regional Growth Center within the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) policy framework. The Moss Bay Neighborhood Plan provides policies that support the NE 85th Station Area and ensure that these two plan areas are aligned to ensure seamless transportation and multi-modal connections between Downtown and the planned NE 85th BRT/Stride Station, provide additional housing choice, increased employment opportunities, and amenities to serve a strong Regional Growth Center. Another important aspect of fostering sustainable growth patterns is the ability to plan for and provide supporting capital facilities. The City’s Capital Facilities Plan, which applies to Moss Bay and the rest of Kirkland, accomplishes this by considering future needs for transportation, parks, sewer and water infrastructure and other public services, and provides the necessary financial tools to develop new infrastructure.

Both the King County Countywide Planning Policies and PSRC’s VISION 2050 envision cities with designated regional centers as playing an important role in shaping future growth patterns through accommodating a significant portion of the region’s housing and employment growth. As of 2019, the County-designated Greater Downtown Urban Center (centered on Moss Bay but including adjacent areas in other neighborhoods) supported 4,180 dwelling units and 17,000 jobs. By 2035, it is anticipated that there will be an increase of 4,000 dwelling units and 9,700 jobs within the plan area, to a total of 8,180 dwelling units and 26,700 jobs. According to a 2018 Zoned Capacity Analysis, the total number of employees and residents in the plan area is projected to be 39,000 by 2035, which means there is capacity for growth. A market study will be conducted for the entire Regional Growth Center and its relevant findings will be incorporated into a future version of this plan to help achieve the expected housing and employment growth.

Throughout the region, Center designations are part of a growth management and transportation planning strategy to provide for greater intensity and density in areas of compact development where housing, employment, shopping and other activities are close together in proximity to transit. These centers form the backbone of the transportation network, linking communities to reduce the rate of growth in vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions by expanding innovative transportation options. Properties within the shoreline jurisdiction are also subject to the policies in the Shoreline Area chapter and the shoreline management regulations in the Kirkland Zoning Code.

Figure MB-1: Moss Bay Area Boundaries