Council sets workshop for Central Issaquah Plan

February 12, 2013

Months after the City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, members intend to delve into the redevelopment blueprint again to refine important development rules.

The council plans to meet Feb. 20 for a public workshop to discuss design and development standards, or the rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more. City staffers intend to answer the council’s questions as members prepare to sign off on the last outstanding Central Issaquah Plan piece.

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City Council workshop

  • Agenda: Central Issaquah Plan design and development standards
  • 6 p.m. Feb. 20
  • Eagle Room, City Hall
  • 130 E. Sunset Way

That piece is scheduled to reach the council for consideration and possible adoption April 1.

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Issaquah planners envision opportunity in business district redevelopment

February 12, 2013

Issaquah leaders, planners and residents spent years on a blueprint to define redevelopment in the business district over the next few decades.

The guidelines approved late last year in the Central Issaquah Plan aim to transform about 1,000 acres along Interstate 90 from strip mall suburbia into a dense urban core in the next 30 years. The plan also increased the building height limit to 125 feet in the commercial core, up from 65 feet.

The change is meant to attract businesses and residents to mixed-use development.

“To some extent, if you build it, they will come — if it looks good and feels good,” said Mary Newsom, associate director, urban and regional affairs, at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and a former columnist for The Charlotte Observer.

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Joe Forkner enters race for Issaquah mayor

February 5, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Feb. 4.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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City Council turns to veteran for vacancy

February 5, 2013

Joe Forkner (left) is welcomed back to the dais for another City Council stint by Eileen Barber on Jan. 29. By Greg Farrar

Joe Forkner (left) is welcomed back to the dais for another City Council stint by Eileen Barber on Jan. 29. By Greg Farrar

Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Jan. 29 after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.

Forkner, a councilman in separate stints during the early and mid-2000s, did not fade from public life after departing from the council in 2007. The engineering technician and draftsman served as a member of numerous municipal boards and commissions in recent years, and spearheaded the initial plan to redevelop the business district along Interstate 90.

The depth of experience led the council to appoint Forkner, 59, to occupy the seat left after former Councilman Mark Mullet resigned to serve in the state Senate.

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Mayor Ava Frisinger reflects on accomplishments

February 5, 2013

Mayor Ava Frisinger, a steady leader amid more than a decade of transformation, plans to retire after guiding Issaquah through a transition from small town to a boomtown in 16 years at City Hall.

Ava Frisinger

Ava Frisinger

The announcement did not come as a surprise to other elected leaders or residents active in municipal government. Frisinger said in early 2009 she did not intend to run for a fifth term as mayor in 2013.

But the decision to include the announcement in a farewell State of the City address Feb. 4 enabled Frisinger to cast the annual speech as valedictory on accomplishments from the last decade and a half.

The mayor glanced back to 1998 — before officials opened a modern City Hall along East Sunset Way and as initial residents settled into the Issaquah Highlands, a then-novel urban village carved into the hillside above Interstate 90.

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Mayor Ava Frisinger reflects on accomplishments

February 5, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Mayor Ava Frisinger, a steady leader amid more than decade of transformation, plans to retire after guiding Issaquah through a transition from small town to a boomtown in 16 years at City Hall.

Ava Frisinger

Ava Frisinger

The announcement did not come as a surprise to other elected leaders or residents active in municipal government. Frisinger said in early 2009 she did not intend to run for a fifth term as mayor in 2013.

But the decision to include the announcement in a farewell State of the City address Monday enabled Frisinger to cast the annual speech as valedictory on accomplishments from the last decade and a half.

The mayor glanced back to 1998 — before officials opened a modern City Hall along East Sunset Way and as initial residents settled into the Issaquah Highlands, a then-novel urban village carved into the hillside above Interstate 90.

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Joe Forkner launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

February 4, 2013

NEW — 3 p.m. Feb. 4, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Monday.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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City Council appoints Joe Forkner to open seat

January 29, 2013

NEW — 6:20 p.m. Jan. 29, 2013

Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Tuesday after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.

The council appointed a successor to former Councilman Mark Mullet after about 15 minutes of discussion.

Members nominated Forkner and longtime Development Commission member Mary Lou Pauly for the post. The council chose Forkner in a 4-2 decision.

The seat opened Jan. 8 after Mullet departed to serve in Olympia. The entrepreneur and former banking executive defeated Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate.

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City Council shifts top leadership positions

January 29, 2013

The leadership atop the City Council shifted in early January, as the group chose a longtime councilman to lead the council again.

In unanimous decisions Jan. 7, council members chose Fred Butler for the top spot on the board, council president, and Paul Winterstein to serve in the No. 2 position, deputy council president.

The council did not nominate other contenders for either position.

Issaquah voters elected Butler to the council in 1999. Since 2009, he has served as deputy council president after earlier serving as council president.

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Central Issaquah Plan team earns honor from chamber

January 29, 2013

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders honored residents, planners and City Council members Jan. 24 for crafting and adopting a long-term redevelopment plan.

The council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan in December to transform the business district from strip mall suburbia into a dense urban core punctuated by buildings up to 125 feet tall.

The chamber praised the people involved in the Central Issaquah Plan effort at the annual Innovation in Issaquah Luncheon.

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