State planners offer tools to ease holiday travel headaches

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

The state Department of Transportation delivered gifts to holiday travelers — tips to avoid travel-related headaches.

The agency offers numerous travel information tools for motorists headed out between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Travelers planning to hit state highways can find information on the Department of Transportation website about the times and places drivers can expect to experience holiday weekend delays, including U.S. 2, Interstate 90, and Interstate 5 at the Canadian border, and between Olympia and Tacoma.

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Issaquah milestones from 2012 reflect challenges, changes

December 25, 2012

Backhoes from Santana Trucking & Excavating dig June 26 at the southeast corner of the intersection of Northeast High Street and Highlands Drive Northeast, as construction starts on the Issaquah Highlands retail center. By Greg Farrar

Challenges — whether economic, political or social — defined the year.

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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

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.”

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City Council approves pact to transform gravel quarry to urban village

December 25, 2012

The gravel quarry carved into the hillside below the Issaquah Highlands is poised to transform into businesses and homes in the next 30 years, after the City Council approved a landmark development agreement to reshape the area.

The landowner and quarry operator, Issaquah-based Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed the pact last year for about 120 acres on both sides of Highlands Drive Northeast. The council approved the development agreement Dec. 17, despite concerns about building height, traffic congestion and contamination in the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer, a key drinking water source for the city.

“There was a lot of push and pull, a lot of compromise, and I think it’s an agreement that both is good for my family and is also good for the city of Issaquah, and that we will live to see a development on this site that enhances the city,” Lakeside Industries CEO Tim Lee said before the unanimous council decision.

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Police arrest Issaquah man after high-speed chase

December 18, 2012

Deputies arrested a 27-year-old Issaquah man on Tiger Mountain just after noon Dec. 13, after the suspect led police on a high-speed chase and the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter detected the man in a thick forest.

The incident started just before noon in the 19500 block of Maxwell Road Southeast, in unincorporated King County northeast of Maple Valley. Investigators said a deputy patrolling the neighborhood spotted a man attempting to break into a house.

The suspect noticed the officer, ran to a car and fled. The deputy stopped the vehicle moments later near Southeast 208th Street and Maxwell Road Southeast, about a half-mile northeast from the interchange of Southeast Renton-Maple Valley Road and state Route 18.

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City Council adopts Central Issaquah Plan, delays key piece

December 18, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 2012

Issaquah leaders adopted a long-term plan Monday to transform the business district from strip mall suburbia into a dense urban core punctuated by buildings up to 125 feet tall.

In a decision reached after years spent re-envisioning the business district — about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90 — a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

The council held off on a decision about 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.

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Troopers target motorists for aggressive driving near tractor-trailers

December 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 16, 2012

State troopers plan to crack down on aggressive motorists through May in a regional effort to change drivers’ behavior around commercial vehicles.

Officials said collision data shows cars cause the majority of crashes involving cars and commercial vehicles. Washington State Patrol troopers received a grant to conduct a Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, or TACT, emphasis in King County.

In King County, most collisions involving commercial vehicles happen on interstates and state highways. Troopers plan to patrol Interstate 90 from Seattle to North Bend, plus stretches of Interstate 5, state Route 18 and more from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — the time most collisions occur.

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Deputies arrest man after high-speed chase near Issaquah

December 13, 2012

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Dec. 13, 2012

Police arrested a burglary suspect Thursday afternoon along state Route 18 near Issaquah after the man led deputies on a high-speed chase.

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies pursued the man on eastbound state Route 18 after a police officer identified him as a suspect in a burglary late in the morning. The man then refused to pull over and attempted to flee from police.

Once the suspect reached Tiger Mountain southeast of Issaquah and south of Interstate 90, he abandoned the vehicle and fled into the forest.

Deputies and the sheriff’s office helicopter, Guardian One, searched the brush for the man.

Police later located him in the brush, and arrested him.

City Council could delay part of Central Issaquah Plan

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.

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Central Issaquah Plan proposes shift from suburban to urban in business district

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.

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