City Council adopts Central Issaquah Plan, delays key piece

December 18, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 2012

Issaquah leaders adopted a long-term plan Monday to transform the business district from strip mall suburbia into a dense urban core punctuated by buildings up to 125 feet tall.

In a decision reached after years spent re-envisioning the business district — about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90 — a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

The council held off on a decision about the design and development standards outlined in the 30-year blueprint for redevelopment. The design and development standards set rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences. The business district along Interstate 90 encompasses about 1,000 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers.

The council approved three pieces of legislation to enact the Central Issaquah Plan. The proposed design and development standards comprised the last piece of legislation.

The council is likely to reconsider the design and development standards April 1.

Supporters said the change outlined in the Central Issaquah Plan is not going to occur overnight, and noticeable changes could require years to come to fruition.

The document could act as a guide to a future Issaquah or, as some critics suggest, invite more sprawl to the community, further clog already-congested roads and mar the mountain panorama.

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