Traffic plan may cost $300 million

December 9, 2014

Package would include 500 percent increase in impact fees

Looking to accommodate expected residential and retail growth without creating gridlock on city streets, Issaquah’s administration has come up with a $300 million transportation plan that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

But to help pay for all the needed road improvements, administration officials have proposed a 500 percent hike in the traffic impact fees developers pay.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were adopted, that figure jumps to $8,600.

The impact fees would not cover the entire cost of the plan, which includes $250 million for roadwork and an additional $50 million for bike paths and pedestrian accommodations, city consultant Randy Young said in an interview.

Young said the city would need to fund the remainder at a cost of approximately $165 million for roadwork and roughly $26 million for bike and pedestrian pathways.

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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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Planning continues for Rowley Properties land

December 11, 2012

The proposed development agreement between the city and Lakeside Industries is the latest long-term pact involving a major landowner.

In a landmark decision late last year, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center.

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Overlake relocates Issaquah specialty clinics

November 20, 2012

Overlake Hospital Medical Center’s Issaquah-based specialty clinics, including cardiology and pulmonology, Anticoagulation Clinic and the Breast Screening Center, have relocated to the Highmark Medical Building along state Route 900 at Northwest Maple Street.

The medical center also moved its Issaquah classroom from the Overlake Center along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast to the Highmark Medical Building. The change offers a larger space for educational courses provided by the hospital and clinics.

Candidates’ signs raise stakes, then linger as litter

November 6, 2012

A cluster of political signs on the road shoulder vie for motorists’ attention Nov. 1 at the corner of Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900. By Greg Farrar

The emerald strip in the center of Northwest Gilman Boulevard is prime real estate for political signs, a landscaped median exposed to thousands of vehicles each day.

Unfortunately for candidates, city code prohibits campaign operatives from turning the median — and others around Issaquah — into a politician’s paradise in the run-up to Election Day.

Some passers-by regard political signs as litter, just another piece of detritus from a long and acrimonious campaign season. Others see the placards as grassroots organizing at the actual grassroots, a First Amendment affirmation.

Michele Forkner, code compliance officer for the city, treats the signs as a necessary but messy task.

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Planners steer dollars to Issaquah-area road upgrades

October 26, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 26, 2012

Issaquah-area road projects received a green light to proceed — and more than $3 million — Thursday, after planners approved a regional transportation program.

Puget Sound Regional Council leaders recommended funding for projects on Southeast May Valley Road, Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and, on the Sammamish Plateau, 228th Avenue Southeast.

The lineup includes projects just outside Issaquah city limits, but none inside the city.

Some dollars for the projects come from $440 million in federal funds distributed by the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. State gas tax revenue and local funds then cover the remaining project costs.

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Editorial

October 23, 2012

Our endorsements for state representatives

Local voters face some clear choices in the legislative races on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Issaquah is divided between the 5th and 41st legislative districts. Redistricting has changed district boundaries, but most Issaquah neighborhoods remain inside the 5th District.

North Issaquah and neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish shifted into the 41st District. Cougar Mountain west of state Route 900 and areas north of Interstate 90 act as the dividing lines.

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Group recommends dollars for Issaquah-area road projects

October 2, 2012

Planners recommended more than $2 million Sept. 13 to help fund road projects in the Issaquah area, including upgrades to West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast and Southeast May Valley Road.

The projects could garner a small slice of more than $440 million in federal funds proposed by the Puget Sound Regional Council — the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The planning agency is considering transportation improvements throughout the region. Citizens can comment on the proposals through Oct. 25, the day the agency’s executive board votes on a regional transportation plan.

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City hosts open house, hearing on Central Issaquah Plan

September 25, 2012

Residents can learn more about the proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead at Oct. 4 public meetings.

The municipal Planning Policy Commission’s Central Issaquah Plan open house runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and focuses on development and design standards. Then, the commission hosts a public hearing from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown.

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