Event honors late environmentalists Ruth Kees, Maureen McCarry

November 6, 2012

Environmentalist Ruth Kees and Issaquah City Councilwoman Maureen McCarry campaigned hard to preserve forested Park Pointe, and both community leaders left legacies dedicated to the slice of Tiger Mountain.

Leaders at the nonprofit Issaquah Environmental Council plan to honor the late Kees and McCarry on Nov. 11, in a public event to clear invasive plants and add native species to Park Pointe, a 101-acre tract near Issaquah High School.

Barbara Shelton, Issaquah Environmental Council secretary, said the planting event is designed to honor Kees and McCarry, and to encourage residents to explore the public land at Park Pointe.

Kees served as a longtime advocate for efforts to preserve open space and protect the Issaquah Creek watershed.

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Offer input on Park Pointe trail proposal

August 21, 2012

Citizens can offer input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing 101 acres near Issaquah High School.

The public can comment on the proposal to the Park Board at 7 p.m. Aug. 27. The board meets at the Issaquah Trails House, 110 Bush St. Read the draft trail plan for Park Pointe at http://bit.ly/LSmlum.

Once the Park Board listens to public comment, members intend to develop a recommendation for Mayor Ava Frisinger and city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill. Frisinger and McGill then intend to finalize a plan for the site.

King County transfer of development rights program to conserve rural land

August 14, 2012

King County and Seattle leaders unveiled a land-use program July 24 similar to the successful Issaquah program used to conserve the Park Pointe site on Tiger Mountain.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the program is meant to improve infrastructure in Seattle and preserve 25,000 acres of forests and farmland in rural areas.

The Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program is the result of collaboration among the city and county, and the nonprofit organization Forterra. The program enables cities to access a portion of King County’s property tax increment resulting from development if a certain percentage of development results from the use of transferable development rights, or TDRs.

The program is similar to the transfer of development rights used by Issaquah officials to prevent development on forested Park Pointe, a slice of Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School.

Under the agreement approved in March 2011, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

Park Pointe trail plan needs public input

August 7, 2012

City leaders have put out a call for additional citizen input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest long considered for development but set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing 101 acres near Issaquah High School.

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King County announces program to conserve rural land

July 25, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 25, 2012

King County and Seattle leaders unveiled a land-use program Tuesday similar to the successful Issaquah program used to conserve the Park Pointe site on Tiger Mountain.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the program is meant to improve infrastructure in South Lake Union and preserve 25,000 acres of forests and farmland in rural areas.

“This is the definition of win-win,” McGinn said in a statement. “We will continue to concentrate growth in our urban neighborhoods, where the jobs are and where people want to live and work. In return we will receive important benefits for the city and permanently secure more rural areas as forests and working farms.”

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Off the Press

July 24, 2012

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

There are many measures that can be used to determine a life well lived. How many buildings are named in one’s honor, how much airtime on television is given to broadcasting a memorial service, the total lifetime amount of one’s charitable giving and others.

One measurement in particular is hard to define, because it requires generations of observation not capable in one lifetime. But let me propose a question. How might Issaquah have looked two or three generations from now if Maureen McCarry had not voted against the Southeast Bypass, and had not chaired the planning and growth committee that secured the Park Pointe agreement?

With a little imagination, picture a future 60 years out, with a four-lane bypass and highway to state Route 18, and the big residential development on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah High School.

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City seeks input on Tiger Mountain’s Park Pointe trails

July 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2012

City leaders put out a call Wednesday for citizen input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest long considered for development but set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing about 100 acres near Issaquah High School.

The city acquired the land in a complex transfer of development rights, and the agreement included stipulations about land use. Though low-impact recreational use is OK, for instance, public access cannot conflict with conservation.

The public can offer comments on the draft trail plan July 23 as the advisory board discusses Park Pointe. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry dies

July 10, 2012

Maureen McCarry, a former City Council president and longtime community leader, died early July 4 after a battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, 18 months after resigning from the council.

Maureen McCarry

McCarry, 62, served on the council amid a period of expansion in Issaquah, as council members addressed long-term issues related to transportation, economic development and the environment — a hallmark for McCarry.

In separate stints on the council in the 1990s and 2000s, she made the environment a priority.

The commitment earned McCarry the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community early last year. The top environmental honor in the city recognized McCarry for tireless efforts to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and strengthen tree-protection rules.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry dies

July 5, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. July 5, 2012

Maureen McCarry, a former councilwoman and longtime community leader, died early Wednesday after a battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, 18 months after resigning from the City Council.

Maureen McCarry

McCarry served on the council amid a period of expansion in Issaquah, as council members addressed long-term issues related to transportation, economic development and the environment — a hallmark for McCarry.

In separate stints on the council in the 1990s and 2000s, she made the environment a priority.

The commitment earned McCarry the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community early last year. The top environmental honor in the city recognized McCarry for tireless efforts to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and strengthen tree-protection rules.

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City Council approves Issaquah Highlands land sale

May 1, 2012

City Council members agreed April 16 to sell land to homebuilder Polygon Homes, despite objections from local environmentalists.

The city earned $80,000 in the land sale — dollars earmarked for landscaping in Central Park and elsewhere, wetland programs and Park Pointe conservation.

The property is 14,693 square feet, or about the size of the Issaquah Library, in the Issaquah Highlands’ Forest Ridge subdivision. Polygon intends to use the land for residences.

The property is included in the complicated Park Pointe transfer of development rights. In exchange for preserving a forested Tiger Mountain site near Issaquah High School, officials agreed to open additional highlands land to development. The long process ended in March 2011.

Despite the conditions council members added to the agreement, leaders in the environmental community protested the decision.

David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former councilman, and Janet Wall, a longtime local environmentalist, urged the council to reconsider. Kappler raised safety concerns about a trail leading to the property.

The council approved the sale in a 5-1 decision. Councilman Paul Winterstein dissented. Councilman Joshua Schaer did not attend the meeting.

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