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.”
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.
December 18, 2012
When asked what their favorite holiday memory is, most people will say spending time with loved ones. Dig a little deeper and the holidays are home to a whole score of memories.
Al Watenpaugh, 85, still remembers one Christmas present in particular. Around age 10, he went feeling around under the Christmas tree, trying to see if he could suss out what surprises the gift-wrapped packages held. Feeling around, his fingers moved across a shape that was unmistakable.
December 11, 2012
Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.
The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.
Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.
Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.
September 11, 2012
City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.
In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.
The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.
Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.
August 14, 2012
Hired lobbyist could be good investment
We like the idea of the city of Issaquah hiring a lobbyist to represent its interests in Olympia to state lawmakers.
The lobbyist will be there primarily to bring money back to the city, going after local “earmarks,” a term generally associated with Washington, D.C., and Congress.
It doesn’t quite seem right to invest taxpayer dollars to go after a bigger pot of taxpayer dollars, but that’s the reality of today. Think of it as a donor development manager, a position paid for by many nonprofits. Most cities the size of Issaquah now use a paid lobbyist.
August 7, 2012
Puget Sound Energy blamed a problematic underground distribution cable for a power outage Aug. 3.
The outage affected about 800 customers in the Issaquah area in the early evening. The outage affected customers downtown and in southeast Issaquah along state Route 900, including the Talus urban village on Cougar Mountain.
Residents reported the power going out and coming back on before the prolonged outage. Crews eventually located the problem with the underground distribution cable and restored power after a brief interruption.
The outage prompted cancellation of “The Music Man” at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre. Patrons impacted by the outage can get a refund.
July 3, 2012
Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.
July 3, 2012
Issaquah surpassed 31,000 residents in the past year, as population growth continues to inch upward after a decade of rapid expansion.
The latest tally from the state indicates Issaquah added 460 people last year to reach 31,150 residents. The state Office of Financial Management released the information June 25 for the period from April 1, 2011, to April 1, 2012.
June 5, 2012
Subject matter expert turns up unexpectedly
In my decade-plus of working here at The Issaquah Press, we’ve had many readers who’ve offered unsolicited advice after reading something. We especially enjoy receiving the hand-written notes of grammar corrections that one old-timer saves up and periodically mails in.
So, a couple months ago, after writing in this space about the perils of being the go-to guy at family barbecues, a new voice emerged offering sage advice.
Thinking this was an old codger with too much time on his hands, I took my time getting back to him. Shame on me for not remembering it’s usually the codgers who have the most character. Do you know anyone who’s co-authored a book with someone as renowned as the Baron of Barbecue? But I get ahead of myself.
A retired English teacher, Bob Lyon, 86, lives at Timber Ridge at Talus with his wife, Sandra, also a retired English teacher.