Councilman Fred Butler announces re-election campaign

March 29, 2011

NEW — 5:15 p.m. March 29, 2011

Fred Butler

Longtime Councilman Fred Butler, a respected authority on regional transit issues, announced plans Tuesday to run for a fourth term.

The incumbent candidate, a Squak Mountain resident and a retired U.S. Army colonel, joined the City Council more than a decade ago, and served on the board as Issaquah experienced a population boom.

“I want to continue to serve the citizens of Issaquah and the region with my enthusiasm, energy and experience to make Issaquah a better place,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to working collaboratively to solve problems. I pledge to work hard, listen and help when I can.”

Butler, a Sound Transit board member, served last year on a regional effort to guide King County Metro Transit service in the decades ahead. In addition, then-County Executive-elect Dow Constantine tapped Butler to serve on the transition team as Constantine shifted from the County Council to the top county office in 2009.

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Issaquah preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 24, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after yearslong effort to stop proposed construction

NEW — 6:45 p.m. March 24, 2011

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

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

City planners and officials shepherded the transfer-of-development-rights agreement through the arduous process after Mayor Ava Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, city leaders and other partners continued to pursue the project until the recession scuttled the developer pushing for the project.

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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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Council sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in Park Pointe deal

March 22, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 22, 2011

The city is on the verge of preserving more than 100 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and in the Issaquah Highlands due to a series of agreements the City Council adopted Monday night.

In a landmark decision, the council agreed to accept ownership of the long-disputed Park Pointe property — 102 acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The other agreements, described as housekeeping items by city leaders, cleared up access and boundary issues related to the highlands land.

Now, after years of negotiations, the complicated transfer of development rights to preserve Park Pointe and add more density to the highlands is almost complete. Read more

Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental honor

March 21, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. March 21, 2011

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 Monday night.

Mayor Ava Frisinger cited the countless hours McCarry contributed to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe near Issaquah High School and strengthen tree-protection rules.

The mayor and Council President John Traeger selected McCarry for the honor after receiving numerous nominations for the former councilwoman, a Squak Mountain resident.

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Mayor predicts ‘momentous year’ in State of the City speech

February 15, 2011

City is poised to complete long-term projects in coming months

Mayor Ava Frisinger offered a bold prediction for the year in the State of the City address last week.

“2011 will undoubtedly be a momentous year for Issaquah — one that will not only reinforce the importance of our day-to-day business, but will also celebrate our larger accomplishments,” she said during the Feb. 7 address.

The can-do speech highlighted projects scheduled for completion in the months ahead, including the city-coordinated zHome townhouses and a landmark effort to outline redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.

“2010 sets high expectations for this year, and I am confident that we can meet them,” Frisinger said. “Our list of goals for 2011 is extremely impressive and yet very feasible.”

The annual address — like the spring City Council goal-setting session and the autumn budget announcement — helps city leaders outline priorities for the public.

Frisinger used the speech to shine a spotlight on long-term efforts on track to mark milestones.

The city is poised to complete the long-running effort to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain soon.

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Bellevue College is closer to highlands land purchase

February 8, 2011

Bellevue College is poised to complete the purchase of land for a proposed Issaquah Highlands campus by the end of the month.

College President Jean Floten said the institution signed a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy 20 acres from highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The agreement contains some routine contingencies — such as the college agreeing to the architectural standards for the highlands — and must undergo review from the state Department of General Administration, because the college is a state agency.

The final contingencies should be removed before the month ends. The process is not expected to cause problems, college spokesman Bob Adams said.

The transaction is part of a complicated transfer of development rights to preserve forested land on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School and open additional highlands land for construction.

The city solicited proposals last October from potential buyers for the parcels. Candidates received bonus points for including affordable housing and public spaces in the proposals.

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Mayor highlights accomplishments in State of the City address

February 8, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 8, 2011

Mayor Ava Frisinger offered a bold prediction for the months ahead in the State of the City address Monday night.

“2011 will undoubtedly be a momentous year for Issaquah — one that will not only reinforce the importance of our day-to-day business, but will also celebrate our larger accomplishments, ” she said.

The can-do speech highlighted projects scheduled for completion in the months ahead, including the city-coordinated zHome townhouses and a landmark effort to outline redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.

Frisinger used the annual address to shine a spotlight on other long-term efforts.

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City Council nixes Park Pointe committee as deal nears finish

January 18, 2011

City Council members decided to eliminate the committee responsible for the Park Pointe preservation deal as the council updated the way members conduct business.

The council nixed the Major Planning & Growth Committee and redistributed the responsibilities of the former group Jan. 3. The group handled agreements related to the proposed transfer of development rights between forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and the Issaquah Highlands. The proposal is on track to be completed in the months ahead.

“This last year, there was an awful lot of major activity with the TDR and with the Central Issaquah Plan,” Council President John Traeger said. “This year, we’re down to the Central Issaquah Plan and it’s kind of in autopilot mode. It’s working on its own timeline now.” Read more

Bellevue College president sketches bold vision for Issaquah campus

January 4, 2011

Hurdles remain before construction can start in Issaquah Highlands

Jean Floten

The formula for the Issaquah Highlands remains, for the most part, unchanged since residents settled in the community a dozen years ago: homes built almost eave-to-eave on tree-lined streets, even as plans for offices and retail offerings sputtered.

Bellevue College could juice up the long-established formula, or so community leaders hope.

The college campus proposed for the highlands could someday serve as a learning center for groups as assorted as school-aged children and retirees, a gathering spot for cultural festivals and fuel for the economy — if Bellevue College opts to transform a forested parcel near Central Park into a satellite campus.

College President Jean Floten started to consider the possibility more than a decade ago, as the population boomed on the Eastside.

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