Issaquah planners envision opportunity in business district redevelopment

February 12, 2013

Issaquah leaders, planners and residents spent years on a blueprint to define redevelopment in the business district over the next few decades.

The guidelines approved late last year in the Central Issaquah Plan aim to transform about 1,000 acres along Interstate 90 from strip mall suburbia into a dense urban core in the next 30 years. The plan also increased the building height limit to 125 feet in the commercial core, up from 65 feet.

The change is meant to attract businesses and residents to mixed-use development.

“To some extent, if you build it, they will come — if it looks good and feels good,” said Mary Newsom, associate director, urban and regional affairs, at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and a former columnist for The Charlotte Observer.

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Issaquah police nab NFL player for domestic violence

February 5, 2013

Prosecutors could charge Leroy Hill for domestic violence-related crimes, after Issaquah police arrested the Seattle Seahawks linebacker for assaulting and imprisoning a woman.

Leroy Hill

Leroy Hill

Officers responded to Hill’s Talus home along Cougar Ridge Drive Northwest at about 4 p.m. Jan. 29. Hill’s girlfriend, a 26-year-old Issaquah woman, said he had assaulted her numerous times since about 10:30 a.m. She told police he stood on her head and chest, struck her with a bottle of alcohol and punched her as many as 20 times.

She said Hill, 30, blocked the doorway, did not allow her to leave the home and took her cellphone, court documents state. The woman escaped from the residence when he went to the bathroom.

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Police arrest Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill for domestic violence

January 30, 2013

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Jan. 30, 2013

Issaquah police arrested Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill on Tuesday for domestic violence at Hill’s Talus home.

Officers responded after a 26-year-old Issaquah woman said her boyfriend, Hill, assaulted her several times and kept her inside his home against her will.

The woman told police Hill blocked the doorway, did not allow her to leave the home and took her cellphone. The woman escaped from the residence when Hill went to the bathroom.

Officers arrested Hill, 30, for domestic violence and assault related to the incident at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. The response to the home in the 60 block of Cougar Ridge Drive Northwest included police and Eastside Fire & Rescue units.

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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.

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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.

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Fred Butler enters race for Issaquah mayor

January 22, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Jan. 17.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and, late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

“We are in the process of evolving from a small town to a small city, moving from suburban to urban,” he said in a Jan 17 interview. “Because I’ve been involved in a lot of the planning and the development of the urban villages and the Central Issaquah Plan, I believe I’m in a pretty good position to help implement the direction that we are going in.”

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Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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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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Seniors share holiday traditions, memories

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.

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