February 8, 2011
NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 8, 2011
Mayor Ava Frisinger offered a bold prediction for the months ahead in the State of the City address Monday night.
“2011 will undoubtedly be a momentous year for Issaquah — one that will not only reinforce the importance of our day-to-day business, but will also celebrate our larger accomplishments, ” she said.
The can-do speech highlighted projects scheduled for completion in the months ahead, including the city-coordinated zHome townhouses and a landmark effort to outline redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.
Frisinger used the annual address to shine a spotlight on other long-term efforts.
January 4, 2011
Hurdles remain before construction can start in Issaquah Highlands
The formula for the Issaquah Highlands remains, for the most part, unchanged since residents settled in the community a dozen years ago: homes built almost eave-to-eave on tree-lined streets, even as plans for offices and retail offerings sputtered.
Bellevue College could juice up the long-established formula, or so community leaders hope.
The college campus proposed for the highlands could someday serve as a learning center for groups as assorted as school-aged children and retirees, a gathering spot for cultural festivals and fuel for the economy — if Bellevue College opts to transform a forested parcel near Central Park into a satellite campus.
College President Jean Floten started to consider the possibility more than a decade ago, as the population boomed on the Eastside.
November 2, 2010
King County has adjusted the area for urban growth in the Issaquah Highlands, as part of the long-running effort to preserve about 140 forested acres.
In a unanimous decision, King County Council members added 35 acres near Central Park to the urban area open to dense development. The council adopted the change to the countywide growth blueprint, or Comprehensive Plan, Oct. 18.
The decision is part of a push led by Issaquah officials to preserve 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on Tiger Mountain, plus a rural parcel adjacent to the highlands.
The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to set aside about 140 acres — the Park Pointe land near Issaquah High School and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.
Port Blakely Communities, the developer responsible for the highlands, owns 78 acres in unincorporated King County near Central Park. The proposed transfer calls for Port Blakely to preserve 43 acres and open the remaining 35 acres — the land addressed in the Comprehensive Plan change — to construction.
Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said the boundary decision represented a milestone in the effort to preserve Park Pointe and add density to the highlands.
“It was very, very important that it be done,” she said. “Otherwise, the ability to have the whole TDR transaction take place would have been in jeopardy.”
August 17, 2010
NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 17, 2010
Despite opposition from Issaquah Highlands residents, City Council members decided Monday night to take steps to add more residences to the community and breathe life into the moribund effort to bring businesses to the hillside neighborhood.
City leaders intend to allow up to 550 more residences in the highlands in order to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to preserve about 140 forested acres — the Park Pointe land and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.
The council OK’d the measures in a unanimous decision after members offered a forceful defense of the plan to preserve Park Pointe.
July 27, 2010
Issaquah Highlands would absorb density
Issaquah Highlands residents raised questions last week about a proposed deal to preserve Tiger Mountain land near Issaquah High School and, in turn, allow more residences to be built in the highlands.
The city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities hosted a July 28 open house about the proposed transfer of development rights — a long-running effort to keep the forested Park Pointe site undeveloped.
The open house — hosted at Blakely Hall by highlands visionary Judd Kirk and Keith Niven, city Major Development Review Team program manager — covered familiar territory.
The transfer aims to prohibit development on about 140 forested acres — 102 acres at Park Pointe and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands. The deal aims to allow 500 additional residences in the highlands. The city hopes to complete the swap by December.
July 6, 2010
Architect pledges to listen to all
The landscape architect hired to design a city parks complex along Issaquah Creek plans to ask residents about their ideas for the site during a picnic at the creekside site.
The late August picnic launches a monthslong process to shape the downtown parks at the confluence of Issaquah Creek and the East Fork.
Guy Michaelsen, principal at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, said the parks should be flexible for many users, and a destination for residents from throughout the city.
“It is your Central Park — I know you have a Central Park — but this one will be really central,” he said during a June 29 presentation to the City Council. “This will be your central, central park.”
The city hired Michaelsen to lead the overarching design, or master site plan, for three contiguous properties spread across 15.5 acres: Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks.
The process to develop the parks — often called the “crown jewel” in the municipal parks system by city officials — starts Aug. 26. City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said residents should expect details about the picnic in coming weeks.
June 22, 2010
The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team capped a busy week June 19, when it swept a doubleheader from the Bellevue Legion team at Bannerwood Park.
Lakeside won the opener 3-1 and captured the second game 6-2.
In the opener, Spencer Rogers, of Issaquah, ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning as Lakeside came from behind to win the game.
Conner Lawhead, of Skyline, was the winning pitcher in the first game. He scattered seven hits in pitching a complete game. Lawhead boosted his season record to 2-0.
In the second game, Lakeside scored five times in the fourth inning to beat Bellevue Legion. Rogers, the starting pitcher, worked the first four innings and picked up his second victory. Adrian Sampson, of Skyline, pitched the fifth and sixth innings for Lakeside. Jarod Fisher, of Newport, relieved Sampson in the seventh to finish the game for Lakeside.
Brandon Mahovlich, of Issaquah, had two hits for Lakeside. Reid Dilley, of Newport, had a two-run triple in the fourth inning.
The two victories raised Lakeside’s record to 7-8. The club travels to San Diego, Calif., this week for the Best of the West Tournament.
Lakeside split a doubleheader June 18 with Honda of Bellevue. Honda won the first game 3-2, but Lakeside took the second game 10-7.
In the opener, Honda scored three times in the top of the fourth inning to overcome a two-run Lakeside lead. Victor King, a Newport High graduate, singled in both Lakeside runs in the third inning.
Honda pitcher Nori Shimizu held Lakeside to three hits in the first game. King had two of the hits. Mike Paulson, of Issaquah, had the other hit. Read more
May 18, 2010
Something stinks in the Issaquah Highlands.
Fires set within about 24 hours of each other destroyed three portable toilets last week. Officials suspect foul play in the Grand Ridge Elementary School and Central Park blazes.
Firefighters responded to the first fire at about 10:30 p.m. May 11. Crews contained the fire to a toilet set up near a portable classroom.
Firefighters responded to another fire in nearby Central Park at about 11 p.m. May 12. Responders discovered a pair of portable toilets ablaze. Read more
May 18, 2010
Plans to build a 65-foot cell tower on city land in the Issaquah Highlands advanced last week, after a City Council committee OK’d a lease agreement with AT&T.
Plans call for the structure to be built near the existing 45-foot T-Mobile tower near the Park Drive Northeast entrance to Central Park and a reservoir.
Legislation for the AT&T tower reached the City Council in 2008. Officials asked AT&T to add the ability to co-locate — or lease space to — other carriers on the tower. The measure returned to the council last year with stronger co-location language.
Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members unanimously approved the agreement May 11. The measure does not require a vote by the full council.
AT&T must secure land-use and building permits before construction can proceed. City planners had almost completed the land-use item by last week.
The pact should generate at least $12,000 per year for the city. The rate escalates each year by either 4 percent or the local Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater.
AT&T could recoup some of the money. The communications giant plans to include space for multiple carriers on the tower.
“They’re spending more money to make the pole taller to accommodate the separation between three separate antennas,” city Public Works Engineering Deputy Director Sheldon Lynne said.
City Attorney Wayne Tanaka OK’d the lease agreement before the legislation reached committee members.
“Now that I have an iPhone, I have a vested interest,” Councilman Mark Mullet joked.
May 15, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. May 15, 2010
Issaquah Environmental Council teams will clear invasive Scotch broom in the Issaquah Highlands on Sunday, and the group needs volunteers.
Teams will gather near Central Park from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. to clear the non-native plant near the reservoir near Northeast Park Drive.
The group will need volunteers to tackle other invasive plants, such as Himalayan blackberry and ivy, in the weeks ahead. E-mail Connie Marsh, Issaquah Environmental Council president, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Besides invasive plant removal, the Issaquah Environmental Council works to protect the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer — a source of city drinking water — the Issaquah Creek watershed and other ecological assets. Learn more about the group here.