City Council sells highlands land to Bellevue homebuilder

May 24, 2011

City Council members agreed May 16 to sell Issaquah Highlands land — a scrap measuring 16,000 square feet — to a homebuilder and set aside dollars from the sale to improve municipal parks.

The city stands to receive $191,496 for the parcel near the planned 15th Avenue Northeast extension and Northeast College Drive construction.

Bellevue-based developer Polygon Northwest is building the Forest Ridge at Issaquah Highlands neighborhood near the site and intends to add the parcel to the community.

The homebuilder could create three lots for single-family detached homes on the site.

“As a new member to the Issaquah Highlands community, we want to do what’s in the best interest of the community, and we feel that this fits that goal,” Ben Rutkowski, development project manager for Polygon Northwest, told council members.

The council agreed in a unanimous decision to sell the land, but members raised questions about how to use dollars from the sale, as well as road access to possible homes on the site.

Keith Niven, city Major Development Review Team program manager, said the city created the site after carving up a larger parcel.

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City Council sells Issaquah Highlands land to homebuilder

May 18, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. May 18, 2011

City Council members agreed Monday to sell Issaquah Highlands land — a scrap measuring 16,000 square feet — to a homebuilder and set aside dollars from the sale to improve municipal parks.

The city stands to receive $191,496 for the parcel near the planned 15th Avenue Northeast extension and Northeast College Drive construction. The land measures 16,000 square feet, or about the size of a typical Bartell Drugs.

Bellevue-based developer Polygon Northwest is building the Forest Ridge at Issaquah Highlands neighborhood near the site and intends to add the parcel to the community.

The homebuilder could create three lots for single-family detached homes on the site.

“As a new member to the Issaquah Highlands community, we want to do what’s in the best interest of the community, and we feel that this fits that goal,” Ben Rutkowski, development project manager for Polygon Northwest, told council members.

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City preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 29, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after years long effort to stop proposed construction

By Dona Mokin

The long-running saga to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended late March 24, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

The tradeoff: Under the agreement, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

“I think that this will transform the community in a very, very positive way,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said, minutes after the deal closed. “It has the three elements of sustainability. It has the environment — the environmental protection and preservation. It has a huge social element. It has economic vitality benefits as well.”

The historic conservation effort is part of a complicated transfer of development rights.

City planners and officials shepherded the agreement through the arduous process after Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, representatives from the city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and other partners pursued the project until the recession scuttled the developer behind the proposed Park Pointe development.

Since a Seattle bank foreclosed on the land from the defunct developer last March, the preservation effort lurched into gear. Issaquah and King County officials adopted a series of agreements late last year to advance the process.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental award

March 22, 2011

Maureen McCarry smiles March 21 as her husband Tom Knollmann and the City Hall audience applaud her for receiving the Ruth Kees Environmental Award. By Greg Farrar

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony March 21.

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Park Pointe preservation reaches ‘historic’ milestone

December 28, 2010

Leaders build framework to save Tiger Mountain land, build Bellevue College campus

In a series of decisions a councilman described as a “historic moment,” City Council members assembled the framework Dec. 20 to preserve more than 100 Tiger Mountain acres and attract a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

The council OK’d agreements related to the long-running effort to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and, through a complicated transfer of development rights, open land in the Issaquah Highlands to Bellevue College and homebuilders for construction. Read more

Park Pointe preservation reaches ‘historic’ milestone

December 21, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 21, 2010

In a series of decisions a councilman described as a “historic moment,” City Council members assembled the framework Monday to preserve more than 100 Tiger Mountain acres and attract a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

The council OK’d agreements related to the long-running effort to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and, through a complicated transfer of development rights, open land in the Issaquah Highlands to Bellevue College and homebuilders for construction.

“This is really a historic moment for the city,” Council President John Traeger said before the unanimous decisions.

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2011 municipal budget clears City Council hurdle

December 14, 2010

The trim 2011 city budget continues to inch closer from plan to reality.

City Council members offered another round of comments about the spending plan, and then — in a unanimous decision Dec. 6 — directed city staffers to prepare the formal budget ordinance for adoption. The council is scheduled to adopt the budget Dec. 20.

Discussion centered on the general fund — the $30.4 million budget piece used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

“It’s a $30 million budget for the city of Issaquah, and I think people assume there’s a lot of money flying around,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “When you’re actually in the meetings, it’s very impressive how everything does get analyzed down to that last decimal point.” Read more

2011 municipal budget clears City Council hurdle

December 8, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 8, 2010

The trim 2011 city budget inched closer from plan to reality Monday night.

City Council members offered another round of comments about the spending plan, and then — in a unanimous decision — directed city staffers to prepare the formal budget ordinance for adoption. The council is scheduled to adopt the budget Dec. 20.

Discussion centered on the general fund — the $30.4 million budget piece used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

“It’s a $30 million budget for the city of Issaquah, and I think people assume there’s a lot of money flying around,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “When you’re actually in the meetings, it’s very impressive how everything does get analyzed down to that last decimal point.”

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City Council puts concerns aside to approve undercrossing pact

June 23, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. June 23, 2010

Despite some grumbling from members, the City Council approved a pact Monday to help complete the Interstate 90 Undercrossing.

The city needed to secure right of way along 221st Place Southeast in order to complete paving and install a traffic signal where the road will meet Southeast 62nd Street. The council approved a development agreement with property owners Doug and Linda Ebi for the right of way.

The council initially discussed the agreement June 7, but sent the proposal to the Council Land & Shore Committee and the city River & Streams Board for additional scrutiny after residents and council members raised environmental concerns about the pact.

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City Council delays undercrossing proposal

June 15, 2010

Completing a piece of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing hinges on a pact headed to the City Council next week.

The city needs to secure right of way along 221st Place Southeast in order to complete paving and install a traffic signal where the road meets Southeast 62nd Street.

Staffers proposed a development agreement between the city and landowners Doug and Linda Ebi to acquire the right of way. The council held a public hearing on the proposed agreement June 7, but after residents and council members raised questions about the deal, sent the proposal to the city River & Streams Board and the Council Land & Shore Committee for additional scrutiny.

The measure will return to the full council for another hearing June 21.

The undercrossing should be completed in November. The phase attached to the Ebi property includes paving three lanes — but not installing curbs, gutters or sidewalks — from 221st Place Southeast to East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

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