Offer input on plan to redevelop business district

September 13, 2011

Citizens can offer input on a plan to transform Issaquah’s business district in the decades ahead.

Longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties is proposing a long-term plan to redevelop about 80 acres along Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900 from a commercial and light-industrial district into a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.

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Rowley Properties draft environmental impact statement open house

  • Citizens can submit written comments on the draft to city Environmental Planner Peter Rosen at peterr@ci.issaquah.wa.us until 5 p.m. Sept. 29. Or, citizens can mail comments to Rosen at Issaquah Planning Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98207.

The municipal Planning Department issued a draft environmental review for the plan to redevelop Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center on Aug. 31. The review, or environmental impact statement, illustrates possible impacts on storm water, traffic, views and more.

Rowley Properties and city planners embarked on a bold effort in April 2010 to redevelop Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center in Central Issaquah.

The city is in the midst of a parallel effort to define redevelopment in 915-acre Central Issaquah in the coming decades. The agreement to redevelop the Rowley Properties land is seen as critical to the overall redevelopment push.

The city is hosting a public open house on the draft environmental impact statement Sept. 21. The meeting is meant to provide information about the review, but the city is not accepting verbal comments at the meeting.

Then, to address comments from the public, planners prepare a final environmental impact statement for the City Council. The council then uses the review to make a final decision on the proposed development agreement between the city and Rowley Properties.

Offer input on long-term plan to redevelop business district

September 4, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 4, 2011

Citizens can offer input on a plan to transform Issaquah’s business district in the decades ahead.

Longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties is proposing to a long-term plan to redevelop about 80 acres along Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900 from a commercial and light-industrial district into a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.

The municipal Planning Department issued a draft environmental review for the plan to redevelopment Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center on Aug. 31. The review, or environmental impact statement, illustrates possible impacts on storm water, traffic and views.

Rowley Properties and city planners embarked on a bold effort in April 2010 to redevelop Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center in Central Issaquah.

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Citizens can offer input about medical marijuana ordinance

August 30, 2011

Citizens can offer input on the citywide moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens as planners craft a possible solution.

Under direction from the City Council, the municipal Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what — or indeed if — business, safety and zoning restrictions should apply to such gardens. The city is offering opportunities for citizen input on a proposed ordinance in September and October.

Issaquah is in the midst of a six-month moratorium on the collective gardens. The council enacted the ban in June and, per standard procedure, held a public hearing on the issue July 18. Members agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution as soon as possible.

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Citizens can offer input about medical marijuana ordinance

August 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 21, 2011

Less than a month after the City Council upheld a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens and urged planners to craft a solution, the city announced opportunities for citizens to offer input on a proposed medical marijuana ordinance.

Under direction from the council, the Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what — or, indeed, if — business, safety and zoning restrictions should apply to such gardens.

Issaquah is in the midst of a six-month moratorium on the collective gardens. The council enacted the ban in June and, per standard procedure, held a public hearing on the issue July 18. Members agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution as soon as possible.

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City launches $50,000 study to determine how departments coordinate, collaborate

August 2, 2011

Ava Frisinger

Consultants started interviewing employees at City Hall last month, as leaders embark on a $50,000 study to determine how municipal departments function and the city delivers services to businesses and residents.

Mayor Ava Frisinger selected Seattle consultant Moss Adams to examine the Building, Planning and Public Works Engineering departments, in addition to economic development efforts. The focus is on organization and a still-nascent effort to anticipate future service needs.

“It’s always beneficial for organizations to say, ‘How are we doing? Might there be places we could improve?’ Because we want to do the very best that we can at providing services,” Frisinger said. “That’s our mission — we want to do it effectively, not just efficiently.”

Construction in Talus and the Issaquah Highlands — urban villages and the impetus behind the Major Development Review Team — is slowing after a construction boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In addition, the city is refocusing planning efforts on the Central Issaquah Plan — a redevelopment outline for the 915-acre commercial core along Interstate 90.

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City to elevate flood-prone homes

August 2, 2011

The city Planning Department is considering a permit to allow crews to elevate flood-prone homes along Issaquah Creek.

Plans call for elevating four homes in the Sycamore neighborhood by about 4 feet above the 100-year floodplain. The project includes decks, stairs, landings, walks, foundations, crawlspaces and some minor modifications to the homes to account for the elevation.

The homes along Sycamore Drive Southeast and Southeast Sycamore Place qualified for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant program administered by the city.

The city also intends to elevate a home along Northwest Cherry Place.

In January 2009, floodwaters ruined houses in hard-hit Sycamore. Since the major flood, crews breached a Great Depression-era levee across the creek from the neighborhood to allow more room for the creek to meander during floods.

City planners consider proposal to build subdivision on steep site

July 26, 2011

The city Planning Department could decide soon on a 43-lot subdivision near Providence Point, but the site along Southeast 43rd Way could pose challenges.

Bellevue architect Dennis Riebe proposed the subdivision on 11.97 unoccupied acres along the south side of the street, across from Providence Point and west of the Forest Village neighborhood.

The project proposal includes single-family detached residences and townhouses. The site is zoned for single-family homes on small lots.

The plan also includes proposals for road-frontage improvements and access to Southeast 43rd Way.

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Central Issaquah Plan environmental impact is meeting topic

June 28, 2011

The city is seeking input from residents about how to gauge potential impacts on the environment during a decadeslong redevelopment effort.

Interested people can offer input at a public open house and scoping meeting at 6 p.m. July 13 in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

City planners set up the meeting to collect information about the environmental impact statement process for the Central Issaquah Plan, a blueprint to guide redevelopment in the 915-acre commercial core.

The city intends to analyze transportation, land use, aesthetics, fish and wildlife habitat, public services and utilities in a future environmental impact statement.

Officials received Central Issaquah Plan recommendations from a mayor-appointed task force last year, but no timeline has been established for redevelopment.

The public is also invited to comment on the scope of a potential environmental impact statement.

The city is accepting written comments on the environmental impact proposal until 5 p.m. July 22. Send comments to Environmental Planner Peter Rosen, Issaquah Planning Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027, or peterr@ci.issaquah.wa.us.

Issaquah funeral home proposal raises traffic congestion concerns

June 21, 2011

Concerns about traffic congestion prompted downtown Issaquah residents and business owners to mobilize last week in a neighborhood effort to thwart a funeral home operator from opening a facility in a church along East Sunset Way.

The municipal Planning Department is considering a proposal from Service Corporation International, a Houston-based funeral products and services provider, to renovate Abide Baptist Church, 425 E. Sunset Way, into a funeral home. (The company also operates Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue and Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, plus funeral homes in the same cities.)

The applicant’s parking proposal attracted the most ire from project opponents. Plans call for aisle parking, similar to the lineup near a ferry dock, to accommodate about 20 vehicles for services and visitations at the funeral home. The proposal also calls for using a parking attendant to direct vehicles before and after events.

“I can’t say that that’s going to work,” city Senior Planner Marion O’Brien said. “There are some problems with what they’re showing there as well as with dimensions. We will need to have clarification on some of these proposals. That’s a given.”

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Issaquah funeral home proposal raises traffic congestion concerns

June 20, 2011

NEW — 4:15 p.m. June 20, 2011

Concerns about traffic congestion prompted downtown Issaquah residents and business owners to mobilize last week in a neighborhood effort to thwart a funeral home operator from opening a facility in a church along East Sunset Way.

The municipal Planning Department is considering a proposal from Service Corporation International, a Houston-based funeral products and services provider, to renovate Abide Baptist Church, 425 E. Sunset Way, into a funeral home. (The company also operates Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue and Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, plus funeral homes in the same cities.)

The applicant’s parking proposal attracted the most ire from project opponents. Plans call for aisle parking, similar to the lineup near a ferry dock, to accommodate about 20 vehicles for services and visitations at the funeral home. The proposal also calls for using a parking attendant to direct vehicles before and after events.

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