December 25, 2012
Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences
City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.
The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.
In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.
“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”
December 12, 2012
NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2012
City leaders recommended Tuesday to delay the implementation of important development rules in a long-term plan to transform the business district from strip malls and parking lots to a dense urban hub.
In the last public meeting for the proposed Central Issaquah Plan before the document reaches the City Council for consideration, a council committee called for more time to refine and review the design and development standards outlined in the 30-year blueprint for redevelopment.
The design and development standards set rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more.
Overall, Council Land & Shore Committee members forwarded to the full council the four pieces of legislation to enact the Central Issaquah Plan. The full council is scheduled to consider the legislation and listen to public input Dec. 17.
December 11, 2012
Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.
The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.
Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.
Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.
October 16, 2012
Redistricting shifted more Issaquah neighborhoods into the 41st Legislative District, alongside Mercer Island, Newcastle and parts of Bellevue and Sammamish.
The contest to represent the affluent, suburban district in the state Senate is between Mercer Island residents Maureen Judge, a Democrat, and Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman senator.
In 2010, Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon by 192 votes to represent the district in the Senate. The candidates battled to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Fred Jarrett, a Republican-turned-Democrat and the current King County deputy executive.
“Fred Jarrett, who was an early endorser of mine and is very beloved and well-known in the 41st, has said to me, ‘Maureen, always remember that this is not a blue district, it’s not a red district. It’s a purple district,’” Judge said.
September 11, 2012
City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.
In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.
The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.
Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.
August 7, 2012
Issaquah needs a lobbyist to advocate in the marble corridors beneath the Capitol dome — and coax state legislators to support local projects, City Council members said in a contentious decision to hire a longtime Olympia lobbyist.
The council agreed in a 5-2 decision July 16 to hire Doug Levy to represent Issaquah in Olympia. Members spent $21,700 to hire the former congressional staffer and onetime journalist through December.
July 31, 2012
The long-gestating plan to build a human services campus in Issaquah is a step closer to reality, as organizers inch closer to selecting a site for the facility.
July 3, 2012
Issaquah and the state parks agency have agreed to coordinate efforts to create a better future for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park.
The city could someday shoulder some responsibilities to maintain the state park, but the initial agreement between Issaquah and the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission is light on specifics.
The pact approved by the City Council in a unanimous decision June 18 calls for the city and state parks agency to “explore opportunities to improve community use” of park facilities, seek out funding to improve the park and dedicate staffers to develop recommendations for the park.
The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, is in effect through June 2013. The council decision did not allocate any funding to the park project.
“I’m delighted to see this partnership that we’ve had with Lake Sammamish State Park over the years continue in a more formal way,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.
The effort, spearheaded by councilwomen Eileen Barber and Stacy Goodman, stemmed from a 2011 council retreat to set goals for 2012.
July 3, 2012
Sound Transit received the highest possible ratings from major bond credit rating agencies June 27, despite a challenging economic environment.
Officials said the ratings mean savings for taxpayers in Issaquah and other communities served by the agency. Sound Transit is preparing to save at least $12 million by taking advantage of lower interest rates to refinance about $350 million of outstanding bonds.
In a June 28 decision, Sound Transit board members unanimously approved motions to set parameters to proceed with the transactions. Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler serves on the board.
Moody’s Investor Service continued the Aa1 rating for Sound Transit’s senior bonds and the Aa2 rating for the agency’s junior “parity bond” obligations. The action maintains Sound Transit as one of the highest-rated transit agencies in the nation.
Sound Transit also carries the highest possible rating on both bond obligations, AAA, from Standard & Poor’s.
June 26, 2012
City and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials could end up at loggerheads as the city embarks on a study to assume water and sewer service for the portion of district customers inside Issaquah city limits.
Issaquah officials budgeted $300,000 to study expanded utility service for the entire city. State law encourages municipalities to assume utility services in neighborhoods located inside city limits.
City officials said such a changeover could reduce confusion among customers and enable municipal government to better manage the water and sewer system inside city limits.
Such a change could lead to a showdown between the city and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, because the district is bound to shed hundreds of ratepayers if the city expands water and sewer service to all Issaquah residents.