In response to concerns expressed by special event organizers, the Kirkland Downtown Association, and citizens and businesses, the City of Kirkland initiated an in-depth study in late 2012 of its special event permitting process, fees, and funding policies. Results of the study were presented to the City Council on January 2, 2013 including a recommendation that a long term strategy be developed to more effectively and consistently manage special events within the City. The internal study also recommended short term strategies to address current issues such as use of city equipment by event organizers, clarifying the requirement of police services at special events, exploring whether to waive fees for certain non-profit community events, and defining criteria for approving events. Policy issues were discussed by the City Council’s Community Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee with a discussion held by the full City Council on February 5, 2013. Because more time is needed for the City Council to further discuss policy issues and due to a significant increase in the number of special event applications for this year, an temporary administrative suspension on some new special event applications has been enacted until an events policy can be developed later this spring.
The Council committee considered the potential for creating a policy that requires or gives preference to events that raise money for Kirkland organizations or that benefit agencies that provide services to Kirkland residents. Consideration was also given to community impact, readiness of the event and previous recommendations made by the Tourism Development Committee to provide lodging tax funds.
The committee also discussed limiting the number of events that could occur in any particular public venue such as setting the number of times Marina Park could be closed off for an event. The Council committee will meet every two weeks to discuss the events policy and report back to the full Council regularly during its study period.
In 2012, the City of Kirkland hosted 26 events and has received 15 additional requests for events to be held in 2013. To view the current 2013 Special Event Calendar, go towww.kirklandwa.gov and search “Special Events.”