Offer input on Central Issaquah Plan for business district

July 10, 2012

The historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead is a step closer to implementation, but before city leaders act on the plan, citizens can comment on the bid.

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.

Before the proposal reaches the City Council for discussion and possible implementation, citizens can comment July 12 at a public hearing hosted by the Planning Policy Commission.

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Issaquah receives assistance to plan for long-term growth

July 3, 2012

Issaquah is receiving technical assistance to plan for long-term growth, through a program at a nonprofit organization and a federal grant.

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, announced the technical assistance for Issaquah and other Washington communities June 6.

The grant comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program — a nationwide program to boost communities’ economic and environmental health.

Issaquah officials intend to use the technical assistance from Forterra to work on the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900. City leaders intend to increase density and the mix of uses in the area, make the area more pedestrian-friendly and preserve open space.

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Issaquah receives assistance to plan for long-term growth

June 9, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 9, 2012

Issaquah is receiving technical assistance to plan for long-term growth, through to a program at a nonprofit organization and a federal grant.

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, announced the technical assistance for Issaquah and other Washington communities Wednesday. The grant comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program — a nationwide program to boost communities’ economic and environmental health.

Issaquah officials intend to use the technical assistance from Forterra to work on the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900. Planners intend to increase density and the mix of uses in the area, make the area more pedestrian-friendly and preserve open space.

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Conservationists laud Issaquah land-preservation deal

January 10, 2012

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, lauded local efforts to preserve open space in a 2011 roundup of land conservation efforts throughout the region.

Overall, Forterra contributed to efforts to preserve almost 5,000 acres of forests, farmlands and natural areas last year. The nonprofit organization recognized Issaquah for a successful transfer of development rights program.

The long-running effort to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended in March 2011, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

Under the agreement, officials instead steered development from the Park Pointe site to land in the Issaquah Highlands.

Issaquah is a Cascade Agenda Leadership City — a long-range planning effort from Forterra meant to reduce unchecked growth and encourage denser development in the region. The program includes 18 cities throughout the Puget Sound region.

In landmark decision, buildings up to 150 feet in business district OK’d

December 27, 2011

Rowley Properties could someday build tall buildings on 78 acres in the business district, as shown in the rendering above. Contributed

Rowley Properties plans to redevelop land in decades ahead

Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Dec. 19 to transform acre upon acre blanketed in storage units, low-slung office buildings and automotive service centers into a dense neighborhood for shops and homes.

In a landmark decision, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres in the coming decades. The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center — parcels along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The landowner, in turn, is required to pay for transportation upgrades, affordable housing construction, Tibbetts Creek restoration efforts and storm-water system improvements.

Leaders said the potential for change in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center offers a rare opportunity to reshape Issaquah as the city readjusts after a decadelong population boom.

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Join Issaquah Alps Trails Club to help clean, prepare Cougar Mountain

November 15, 2011

Cougar Mountain is due for a cleaning.

King County purchased 41 acres on Cougar Mountain almost a year ago, and to prepare the site for addition to a regional park, Issaquah Alps Trails Club members plan to clean up the land Nov. 19.

The effort is a rare cleanup event for the trails club. Members usually focus on trail maintenance projects.

“This property is really important and we figure it’s a good start,” said David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman. “We’ll build some more awareness of the actual potential for this property.”

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Cascade Land Conservancy changes name to Forterra

November 8, 2011

Cascade Land Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental group involved in numerous conservation projects in Issaquah and elsewhere, is now Forterra.

The organization announced the name change early Nov. 2. Leaders said the shift reflects the Seattle-based organization’s expanding mission.

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Cascade Land Conservancy changes name to Forterra

November 2, 2011

NEW — 9 a.m. Nov. 2, 2011

Cascade Land Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental group involved in numerous conservation projects in Issaquah and elsewhere, is now Forterra.

The organization announced the name change early Wednesday. Leaders said the shift reflects the Seattle-based organization’s expanding mission.

In 2005, the then-Cascade Land Conservancy established the Cascade Agenda — a long-range planning effort for the region. Issaquah is a Leadership City for Cascade Agenda — meaning long-range planning is meant to envision the local community, environment and economy for the century ahead.

Longtime Forterra President Gene Duvernoy also offered early support for the city-led effort to preserve Park Pointe, a forested site near Issaquah High School, from development into a subdivision.

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Conservancy plans Central Issaquah discussion series

September 27, 2011

Citizens interested in the long-term plan to reshape Issaquah’s business district can learn more at a series of discussions hosted by the Cascade Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization focused on conservation and land-use issues.

The series is dedicated to discussions about livability, growth and the Central Issaquah Plan. The city is in the midst of a push to define redevelopment in the 915-acre Central Issaquah in the coming decades.

The conservancy advocates for locating density adjacent to existing urban services and preserving developable open space.

The initial meeting is at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at REI, 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd. The discussion is scheduled to include tactical urbanism strategies — short-term, small-scale actions to create long-term change. Email Andrea Gousen andreag@cascadeland.org to RSVP or learn more.

The next discussion is at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at REI, and transportation is the discussion topic. The group is also scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., for a land-use discussion.

Each meeting includes experts about the topic as discussion leaders.

Hikers map future of mountaineering

August 2, 2011

Janet Wall searches in Issaquah’s Berntsen Park for invasive plants that she can electronically mark. Photo by Tim Pfarr

“Are we there yet? How much farther?”

If you’ve gone hiking with a child, you have surely heard these migraine-inducing questions thousands of times. As you take left and right turns up a mountainside, there is often no good answer to give the tired youngster.

After all, how much farther is it to the top? Where in the world are you on that map you brought?

If only you had a map created with GPS data. Every twist and turn on the trail would be recorded with surgical precision.

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