Delve into long-term plan for business district at open house

December 7, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Rowley Properties proposal encompasses almost 90 acres

Rowley Properties and city planners embarked on a bold effort in April to shape growth in the decades ahead near Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

Now, the city and the longtime Issaquah developer seek opinions from residents about the potential impacts redevelopment could cause to traffic, mountain views and the environment. Planners scheduled a Dec. 15 open house to gather input from residents.

Participants can listen to presentations from the Community Advisory Group, the citizen panel appointed to shape the process. Organizers also plan to present information about possible environmental impact studies for redevelopment on the site.

Beyond the open house, residents can also provide input later, as the project progresses through policy discussions and environmental studies.

If Rowley decides to implement the plan, any results could be decades distant.

The environmental impact statement is meant to provide complete and impartial environmental information about the potential impacts of a project. City leaders and residents then use the information to shape decisions.

Participants can also offer comments about issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement. City and Rowley planners identified transportation, storm water and views as elements to be studied.

The study should also present information about how different balances of commercial and residential space in the redevelopment could impact the surrounding city.

The open house is the latest step in a decadeslong process to reshape Hyla Crossing — about 62 acres arranged in a rough triangle and wedged between the interstate and the base of Cougar Mountain — and Rowley Center — about 26 acres bordered by Northwest Maple Street, 12th Avenue Northwest, Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900 — into mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly areas.

City Council members agreed in early April to proceed with the proposal. The council agreed to spend up to $750,000 — to be reimbursed by the developer — to complete the framework for a development agreement.

The proposal fits into a broader effort to shape future redevelopment in a 915-acre area near the interstate and state Route 900.

The city rolled out the Central Issaquah proposal in late October, after another city task force logged almost 1,000 hours in 13 months to prepare the plan.

The task force sent the plan to the city Planning Department and then on to the Planning Policy Commission for adjustments. The City Council should start to discuss the plan in committees next year. The measure requires approval from the full council before any redevelopment occurs.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Planners envision ‘complete’ neighborhoods on Rowley land

Planners outlined a broad proposal last week to turn acres of low-rise office buildings, automotive service centers and self-storage units on Rowley Properties-owned land near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 into pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

The process could result in a plan for taller buildings, residences and increased mass transit on almost 90 acres.

Planners updated City Council members on the proposal Nov. 30. The city and Rowley will roll out the proposal at a public open house Dec. 15.

The council heard from urban planner Kate Howe about some of the proposed changes for the land.

“What we see and what we envision in this place is a complete, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood,” she said.

The conversation related to planning for the area focused on ideas to link the area to the surrounding city and natural features, Rowley executive Kristi Tripple said during the presentation to council members.

“Lake Sammamish was a really big point of conversation. One of the consistent comments that we heard in the community and from some of the Community Advisory Group members is, we’ve turned our back on Lake Sammamish,” she said. “It’s an incredible amenity. Not many communities actually sit right next to a lake.”

Get involved

Rowley Properties development agreement open house

  • 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 15
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • 1800 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
  • Learn more about the proposed Rowley Properties redevelopment at the city Planning Department website, www.ci.issaquah.wa.us/da.
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