February 21, 2014
More and more, people within the city are talking about the planned “green necklace.” It isn’t a gift of jewelry to citizens, but many see it as a gift to residents nonetheless.
The green necklace refers to a circle of parks and open spaces around the city, allowing easy pedestrian and bicycle access. It includes Lake Sammamish and the Issaquah Alps in the goal to surround the city and provide interconnected pathways between open spaces.
Though the idea has existed for decades, the Issaquah City Council expressly outlined a plan to create the network of open space in the Central Issaquah Plan, approved in December 2012.
February 21, 2014
How will the central district look in 30 years?
Since before the City Council passed the Central Issaquah Plan in late 2012, citizens have been wondering what the city will look like in 30 years.
“You’re standing in a great pedestrian area,” Issaquah Long Range Planner Trish Heinonen said, describing the average block according to the plan. “It will be very busy with walking people and people having lunch. And wherever you are standing, you can probably see a way to get to the green necklace.”
As a vision for how to cultivate a dense, urban space within the central area and redevelop the flat lots into sustainable, walkable parcels, the Central Issaquah Plan has remained vague beyond the expressed desire to create a vivid environment with a “green necklace” of parks and open spaces around the city and an interlaced connection of walkways and bike paths to reach them.
February 4, 2014
Lennar Multifamily Investors wants to move quickly on the first redevelopment in central Issaquah.
The developer with a Seattle office submitted an official site development permit application Dec. 18. It has an interest in working with the city to construct the first large project under the Central Issaquah Plan. However, it also has an optimistic schedule.
“We’re basically just starting our review,” Project Oversight Manager Christopher Wright said. “There doesn’t seem to be any major issues.”
December 31, 2013
Top news stories of the year
Many new things happened in Issaquah this past year and not all of them were greeted warmly.
While most people saw new parks and a new mayor as positive changes for the city, contention rose around new technology, new development standards, new fish ladders, new plastic bag ordinances and a newly legalized drug.
Much of what happened in 2013 spells more growth for Issaquah in the years to come and even more changes ahead. The year 2014 can learn much from the lessons taught by this past year of transformation.
December 31, 2013
2014 goals for a better Issaquah
The Issaquah Press presents its annual list of goals for the Issaquah area. A few are repeats from last year, still waiting to be accomplished but worthy of repeating.
February elections — The trio of school district levies, the Klahanie annexation decision and the repeal of the plastic bag ban are all up for a vote. The only good thing about the dismal turnout of voters in the November election is the easy assurance of getting enough voters to validate the school levy election. Let’s hope Issaquah voters get back on track and return their ballots in higher numbers in 2014.
Central Issaquah Plan — The redevelopment plan is in place and developers now know how to maximize the use of their property. One project has already been proposed. It will be interesting to see what other plans come forward and whether the CIP is achieving its goals.
December 17, 2013
Officials are hoping to break ground on the new Issaquah Middle School next summer, and the replacement building will look much different than what was first envisioned.
The city of Issaquah’s 30-year plan for its central business district is expected to add more than 7,700 residential units, and it’s forcing the Issaquah School District to think more about long-term impacts to its facilities.
Steve Crawford, the district’s director of capital projects, told school board members Dec. 11 that if downtown Issaquah grows as projected in the Central Issaquah Plan in the next three decades, it would add an estimated 2,850 students to the school district’s enrollment. That represents a 15 percent increase over the district’s current population of 18,400 students.
December 10, 2013
New Issaquah City Councilwoman Mary Lou Pauly wants to connect with the community.
After Pauly won an uncontested election last month, Mayor Ava Frisinger swore her into office during the Dec. 2 regular council meeting.
Though she knew she would not have an opponent in the election, Pauly took the opportunity to introduce herself to the citizens of Issaquah.
“I went out doorbelling,” she said, thanking the kindness of strangers for helping her shake off slight nervousness. “After one doorbell and one friendly face, it was wonderful.”
November 19, 2013
Requiring retail development might be discussed in the Central Issaquah Plan’s first progress report.
Still in the beginning phases, the redevelopment of Gilman Square into three five-story residential buildings has raised questions on the City Council due to the plan’s lack of retail space.
Though the city asked several times for developer Lennar Multifamily Investors to allow for bottom-floor retail space, Lennar declined, opting to proceed with its vision to build 340 new residences on the site.
October 22, 2013
A pre-application for three five-story buildings at Gilman Square could mark the first test of the Central Issaquah Plan.
Developer Lennar Multifamily Investors wishes to turn the 6.7-acre site, the home of Lombardi’s Restaurant until it shut its doors in July, into a large residential location. They entered talks with the city in September before submitting a pre-application in early October.
October 22, 2013
Mayoral candidates City Council President Fred Butler and City Councilman Joe Forkner restated major themes in a largely agreeable forum Oct. 17.
In one-minute answers, both candidates stuck to their agendas, which remain fairly similar.
“When I retired form Seattle City Light as their chief engineer, I decided to devote myself to public service,” Butler said during his opening statements. “I believe in sustainability. All decisions need to take in the three legs of sustainability: people, planet and prosperity.”
Forkner took the insider’s approach, citing his years of work within city government and as a board volunteer.