Talus expansion among comp plan considerations
April 15, 2014
By Peter Clark
Another annexation will face consideration since the Issaquah City Council approved the docket for a comprehensive plan update April 7.
Developers want to expand the Talus urban village by adding another 49.2 acres to the city. The plan received scrutiny during the March 11 Land & Shore Committee meeting.
“The Talus Management Services request is for an expansion area,” city Long Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen said. “It has developed all its area, but it still has entitlements left over.”
She said the Talus entitlements would allow the developer to build 350 more units.
The 49.2 acres sit west of Mountain View Lane Northwest and Summerhill Ridge Drive Northwest in unincorporated King County. In order to consider folding them into the city, City Council would have to update the comprehensive plan to include the proposed action.
“It seems like it fulfills all the pieces of the comprehensive plan criteria,” Heinonen said about the request, but added that it needed more than that to be approved into the city. “An annexed area shouldn’t be a detriment to providing services. It should be a benefit.”
The Land & Shore Committee met the request to include the annexation on the comprehensive plan update docket with some skepticism, but ultimately decided to explore the option.
“There are things I do like about it and things I don’t like about it at all,” Councilwoman Mary Lou Pauly said. “I think there should be measurable, dramatic public benefit. But I do think it should get looked at. I want to have a conversation.”
Resident Connie Marsh expressed concerns that an annexation would set a precedent for developers.
“Is it appropriate to just extend the land mass and allow them to continue building?” she asked the council. “If the developer did not choose to put that density in, I don’t think the developers can just buy more land. This is basically clearing trees in a rural area and sprawling development.”
As the City Council passed the docket for the comprehensive plan updates during its April 7 meeting, the Councilman Joshua Schaer voiced apprehension about the annexation, but welcomed the investigation.
“I share the concerns regarding the applicant having to come forward with a strong identification of a public benefit,” he said. “I have some fairly grave concerns about this part.”
Now that the docket has been set, the administration will evaluate the possibility of annexing the Cougar Mountain acres into the city. The process will make its way through the council and the Land & Shore Committee in coming months, allowing for multiple public comment opportunities.