City seeks applicants for advisory boards, commissions

January 29, 2013

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on important issues as municipal board and commission members.

The city needs applicants for openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the City Council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

Meanwhile, officials need regular and alternate members for the 12 existing commissions. The applicants for board and commission posts do not need to reside in Issaquah.

Read more

City seeks applicants for boards, commissions

January 23, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 23, 2013

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on important issues as municipal board and commission members.

The city needs applicants for openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the City Council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

Meanwhile, officials need regular and alternate members for the 12 existing commissions. The applicants for board and commission posts do not need to reside in Issaquah.

Applicants undergo interviews before Mayor Ava Frisinger recommends appointees to the council for confirmation. The council usually confirms appointees in April, and terms for appointees start in May.

Read more

Construction could start on Issaquah Highlands retail center soon

May 8, 2012

More options to shop and dine in the Issaquah Highlands could open as soon as next year, after a landmark decision by city officials to approve a long-awaited retail complex in the neighborhood.

Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, intends to build the retail complex, dubbed Grand Ridge Plaza, on vacant land along Highlands Drive Northeast between Swedish/Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. Construction could start as early as next month.

The decision by the Urban Village Development Commission represents a milestone in the stop-and-go effort to add more retail options in the neighborhood. The commission — a city board to oversee large-scale projects in the highlands and Talus — OK’d the site development permit for Grand Ridge Plaza in a May 1 decision.

Read more

Meet Issaquah’s board, commission appointees

May 1, 2012

City leaders appointed a group of civic-minded citizens to boards and commissions April 16.

Read more

Issaquah couple take a year off to blog motorcycle diaries

April 17, 2012

Tad Haas and Gaila Gutierrez have done what many probably dream of doing. They quit their jobs and hopped on these two BMW motorcycles for a year-long road trip that started April 15. By Tom Corrigan

Sitting in their nearly empty living room, the couple says they know plenty of people who would love to do what they are about to do.

Gaila Gutierrez said she has heard a lot of people offer reasons they could never take off for the year of wandering that the pair has deliberately only semi-planned out.

“If you want to do it, do it,” she said. “You can make it happen. There’s ways around everything.”

Early the morning of April 15, Gutierrez and Tad Haas set out from their Tiger Mountain home on two BMW motorcycles. Packed carefully aboard those bikes was clothing, camping gear, cameras, notebook computers and other items the two thought they might need for their yearlong trip across the United States, around the Great Lakes and up into eastern Canada, and then back cross-country into Mexico and Central America.

Read more

City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

April 3, 2012

Step is latest in big City Hall reshuffle

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase March 27, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process to apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

Read more

Effort to boost local economy focuses on competitiveness

April 3, 2012

Issaquah faces ‘much more aggressive’ cities in hunt for businesses

In another step to attract businesses to Issaquah and encourage existing entrepreneurs to remain in the city, leaders promised a more robust economic development effort March 27 in a series of other changes to City Hall.

In recent months, officials unveiled a plan to streamline the permitting process for businesses, create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission and add employees dedicated to economic development.

The effort is meant to turn Issaquah into a more desirable place to do business than other Eastside cities. The competition among cities for businesses is fierce, especially since the recession caused construction to lag.

“Communities are much more aggressive and much more competitive for the amount of economic development that exists out there,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said in a presentation to the City Council.

Read more

City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

March 28, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. March 28, 2012

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase Tuesday, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

Bob Harrison

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

City Administrator Bob Harrison said frequent questions from permit applicants influenced the project.

Read more

City creates commission to attract, retain businesses

February 14, 2012

City leaders continued the latest push to bolster economic development Feb. 6 and created a municipal Economic Vitality Commission — another piece in the effort to attract entrepreneurs to Issaquah and retain existing businesses.

City Council members formed the commission to handle a marketing plan to attract businesses, consider opportunities to improve signage options for merchants, review municipal permitting and inspection processes, and produce annual report cards on strategies recommended in the 2005 Economic Vitality Plan. The commission is expected to offer regular updates to the mayor and council.

The idea for a commission stems from a goal council members set at a May 2011 retreat to outline priorities for 2012.

Read more

Mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

The address, delivered Feb. 6, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

Ava Frisinger

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams and delivered late last year, the city focused on efficiency and effectiveness. The consultant discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. Moss Adams pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.

“In the end, our goal is to enhance customer service, find efficiencies and prepare our city for the years and decades ahead,” Frisinger said.

Though the reorganization emerged as a strong theme, Frisinger also used the address to spotlight ongoing projects.

Read more

Next Page »