Come behind the scene at zHome to meet the experts

April 19, 2011

What is zHome?

When it opens this September, zHome — just east of the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride — will be the first multifamily, production, zero-energy, carbon-neutral community in the United States.

Brad Liljequist

ZHome is a template for what 21st century, carbon-neutral housing looks like. It will use:

Zero net energy by balancing out its carbon emissions during the course of the year.

70 percent less water than a typical home.

Materials that come from some of the greenest sources possible.

Who is behind this project?

The city is spearheading the project. ZHome, however, is also a collaborative effort of several organizations and companies, including Ichijo USA, Built Green, King County, Port Blakely Communities, Puget Sound Energy and the Washington State University Energy Program.

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Proposed Eastside transit overhaul includes Issaquah changes

April 12, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed additional bus service to Issaquah in a plan to offer more and faster transit service on the Eastside.

Under the proposal, service is to be increased for Route 271. The route runs from from downtown Issaquah to Bellevue and Seattle’s University District. The proposed increase in service is recommended for the Eastgate-to-Seattle link.

The plan also calls for Route 211 to be extended to the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. Route 211 serves hospital-dense First Hill in Seattle.

In the proposal announced April 8, the executive called for additional Eastside transit service through the launch of RapidRide buses between Bellevue and Redmond.

“Rapid Ride will allow you to just show up to catch a bus between Bellevue and Redmond every 10 or 15 minutes, without having to check a schedule,” he said in a statement. “We heard from Eastside residents, businesses and public agencies, and this proposal reflects their wishes to consolidate resources and make Metro an easier alternative to driving a car.”

The plan aims to revise 24 King County Metro Transit bus routes at the same time the RapidRide B Line service launches between Bellevue and Redmond via Overlake and Crossroads. If the King County Council adopts the service changes, the updated routes should take effect Oct. 1.

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Proposed Eastside transit overhaul includes Issaquah changes

April 10, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. April 10, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed additional bus service to Issaquah in a plan to offer more and faster transit service on the Eastside.

Under the proposal, service is to be increased for Route 271 from downtown Issaquah to Bellevue and Seattle’s University District. The plan also calls for Route 211 to be extended to the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. Route 211 serves hospital-dense First Hill in Seattle.

Constantine is due to present the proposal to the King County Council at a public hearing from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Mercer Island Community Center, 8236 S.E. 24th St.

In the proposal announced April 8, the executive called for additional Eastside transit service through the launch of RapidRide buses between Bellevue and Redmond.

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Explore zHome, ‘green’ highlands residences, on Thursday tour

March 1, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. March 1, 2011

Step behind the fencing at the zHome construction site in the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday.

The tour focuses on the ongoing effort to build 10 eco-friendly townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. The tour runs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The construction site is near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

Participants can check out wall cavities inside the unfinished residences and discover heat-recovery ventilators designed to warm incoming air by using escaping exhaust air.

Plans call for the townhouses to harness solar power and use recycled building materials. Officials expect zHome to be completed in the spring.

The groundbreaking project is a featured destination the upcoming Northwest EcoBuilding Guild Green Home Tour.

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Plan for Issaquah Highlands lane closures through Friday

February 15, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 15, 2011

Prepare for lane closures in the Issaquah Highlands from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon as crews continue construction on a self-storage facility.

Crews plan to close two of three lanes on Ninth Avenue Northeast between Northeast High Street and the junction of Ninth Avenue Northeast and Highlands Drive Northeast near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, weather permitting.

The lane closures ensure safety for drivers and construction crews.

Plans call for the self-storage facility to include 500 storage units spread across six floors.

Plan for Issaquah Highlands lane closures

February 8, 2011

Prepare for lane closures in the Issaquah Highlands from Feb. 9-11 as crews continue construction on a self-storage facility.

Crews plan to close the northbound lanes of Northeast Highlands Drive from Northeast Park Drive to Northeast High Street near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drivers should expect delays.

The lane closures ensure safety for drivers and construction crews.

Officials encourage drivers to avoid the area and use Northeast Park Drive for westbound access and Northeast Federal Drive for eastbound access.

Plans call for the self-storage facility to include 500 storage units spread across six floors.

Tour eco-friendly zHome construction site Thursday

February 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 3, 2011

Step behind the fencing at the zHome construction site in the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday.

The tour focuses on the ongoing effort to build 10 eco-friendly townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. The tour is free and runs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The construction site is near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

Plans call for the townhouses to harness solar power and use recycled building materials. Officials expect zHome to be completed in the spring.

Dignitaries broke ground on the project in September 2008, but the recession delayed construction until April 2010.

The city spearheaded the development of zHome. Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture of Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. — handles the construction. Ichijo USA financed the project.

Innovative zHome construction site opens for tour Thursday

January 5, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 5, 2011

Step behind the fencing at the zHome construction site in the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday.

The tour focuses on electrical and plumbing components, plus measures to reduce lumber use in framing. The tour is free and runs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The construction site is near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

The last construction site tour attracted about 40 participants.

Plans call for zHome to include 10 eco-friendly townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. The homes will harness solar power and use recycled building materials. Officials expect zHome to be completed in the spring.

Dignitaries broke ground on the project in September 2008, but the recession delayed construction until April 2010.

The city spearheaded the development of zHome. Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture of Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. — handles the construction. Ichijo USA financed the project.

City Council opens highlands land to Bellevue College development

December 14, 2010

Park Pointe transfer of development rights

Bellevue College could construct a campus in the Issaquah Highlands and dozens of homes could be built nearby in the coming years due to a series of agreements the City Council approved Dec. 6.

The council directed city staffers to facilitate the sale of three parcels on 35 acres owned by highlands developer Port Blakely Communities. Revenue from the sales is then to be used to purchase Park Pointe — 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School.

If the complicated process – called a transfer of development rights — succeeds, the 102 acres and another 43 rural acres near the highlands should be preserved. In addition, the 35 acres under consideration could be developed.

The council selected Bellevue College and local homebuilders to develop the three highlands parcels.

Bellevue College Trustee Vicki Orrico said the process could take more than 20 years for the campus to be completed — if college administrators decide to buy the land in the highlands and construct a campus.

“We’re a community college,” she said. “Just what the name implies, we’re a college of the community, and that’s our intention in coming here. We plan to do a great deal of learning and listening to you about what you want.”

Bellevue College announced interest in a highlands site in August. The college is in the midst of a traffic study to gauge the impact of a potential campus in the neighborhood.

In October, the city started to solicit proposals from potential buyers for the parcels.

The sales should generate enough dollars to purchase Park Pointe. The city also aimed to select buyers based on a willingness to providing a “community benefit” — such as affordable housing or public spaces — as part of developing the parcels.

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Issaquah on ice: Snowstorm snarls traffic, prompts school closures

November 30, 2010

Ryder Marin, 9, of Issaquah, starts to spill after becoming airborne on the Issaquah Community Center hillside Nov. 23. ‘All the snow comes straight up in my face and I can’t see very well,’ he said. By Tim Pfarr

The nightmare occurred long before Christmas — and before Thanksgiving.

Issaquah and the Puget Sound region slid to a halt during a fall snowstorm Nov. 22. The storm snarled commutes for Issaquah residents and prompted road crews to toil through Thanksgiving to clear streets. The poor conditions interrupted the regional transit system and left riders huddled in bus shelters. The fallout sent shoppers scrambling to stores for emergency supplies and Thanksgiving staples.

The mercury dipped into the teens and 20s — record cold temperatures — in the days after the storm and turned roads icy.

“People were very understanding of the situation,” Issaquah Police Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said. “I think a lot of people were just trying to get home Monday night.”

Some motorists abandoned vehicles and turned road shoulders along Highlands Drive Northeast, Newport Way Northwest and Southeast Black Nugget Road into impromptu parking lots. Police impounded more than 30 vehicles in travel lanes as conditions deteriorated Nov. 22.

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