Highlands residents protest plan to preserve Tiger Mountain

August 24, 2010

Despite opposition from Issaquah Highlands residents, City Council members decided last week to take steps to add more residences to the community and breathe life into the moribund effort to bring businesses to the hillside neighborhood.

City leaders intend to allow up to 550 more residences in the highlands in order to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The deal, part of a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to set aside about 140 acres — the Park Pointe land and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

The council OK’d the measures in a unanimous decision after members offered a forceful defense of the plan to preserve Park Pointe.

Port Blakely Communities, the developer responsible for the highlands, owns 78 acres in unincorporated King County near Central Park. The proposed transfer calls for Port Blakely to preserve 43 acres and open the remaining 35 acres to construction. The city then intends to annex the 35-acre parcel.

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Preservation plan inches ahead, despite outcry from highlands residents

August 17, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 17, 2010

Despite opposition from Issaquah Highlands residents, City Council members decided Monday night to take steps to add more residences to the community and breathe life into the moribund effort to bring businesses to the hillside neighborhood.

City leaders intend to allow up to 550 more residences in the highlands in order to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to preserve about 140 forested acres — the Park Pointe land and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

The council OK’d the measures in a unanimous decision after members offered a forceful defense of the plan to preserve Park Pointe.

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Council seeks input on land swap, Issaquah Highlands changes

August 10, 2010

City leaders could allow 550 more residences to be built in the Issaquah Highlands in order to preserve a corner of Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School.

But before the deal can proceed, the City Council must agree to amend the longstanding development agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

Bring comments about the proposed change to a public hearing before the council Aug. 16.

The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to preserve about 140 forested acres — 102 acres at Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Port Blakely owns 78 acres in unincorporated King County near Central Park. The proposed transfer calls for the developer to preserve 43 acres and allows dense construction on the remaining 35 acres. The city then intends to annex the 35-acre parcel. Read more

City, Port Blakely host another Park Pointe open house Wednesday

August 3, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 3, 2010

The city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities plan another open house to discuss a proposal to preserve Tiger Mountain land and add residences to the highlands.

The open house offers residents a chance to study maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input. The forum runs from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive.

The transfer aims to prohibit development on about 140 forested acres — 102 acres at Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands — and, in exchange, allow 500 additional residences in the highlands.

The plan calls for Port Blakely to spend about $500,000 for transportation upgrades in the highlands, and build a mountain biking course in the neighborhood.

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Park Pointe development swap raises questions

July 27, 2010

Issaquah Highlands would absorb density

Issaquah Highlands residents raised questions last week about a proposed deal to preserve Tiger Mountain land near Issaquah High School and, in turn, allow more residences to be built in the highlands.

The city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities hosted a July 28 open house about the proposed transfer of development rights — a long-running effort to keep the forested Park Pointe site undeveloped.

The open house — hosted at Blakely Hall by highlands visionary Judd Kirk and Keith Niven, city Major Development Review Team program manager — covered familiar territory.

The transfer aims to prohibit development on about 140 forested acres — 102 acres at Park Pointe and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands. The deal aims to allow 500 additional residences in the highlands. The city hopes to complete the swap by December.

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Highlands meeting to address impacts of preserving Tiger Mountain

July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a July 22 open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

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City hosts Park Pointe open house Thursday

July 20, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a Thursday open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands, 2550 N.E. Park Drive, between 6:30-8 p.m. to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

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City works to preserve Tiger Mountain land

May 11, 2010

The long process to preserve the Park Pointe property inched forward last week, as the City Council agreed to initiate the complicated steps to preserve the Tiger Mountain land and, in exchange, allow more residences in the Issaquah Highlands.

Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed the transfer of development rights in September 2008. The recent bankruptcy of the developer behind Park Pointe and subsequent foreclosure on the property by a Seattle bank presented city leaders with the latest opportunity to complete the exchange.

If city officials and landowners can pull off the proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Before the land can be set aside for conservation, however, officials must sign off on separate bills to initiate the transfer of development rights and amend the agreement with highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to address the undeveloped land near the hillside community. The amendment seeks to allow Port Blakely to build 500 additional residential units in a proposed highlands town center.

City Council members referred the dual measures to the Council Major Planning & Growth Committee. Members will discuss the legislation May 24.

“So, what we’ve done is try to develop a scenario that might work in a few different ways that could ultimately lead us to preserving 140-plus acres of open space that the community would see as being a benefit,” Keith Niven, program manager for the city Major Development Review Team, told council members May 3.

Port Blakely owns 78 acres near Central Park in the highlands. Under the existing zoning, the company could develop the unincorporated King County land as five-acre residential properties or for institutional uses, like a church or a school. Instead, Port Blakely offered some of the land for preservation, or as part of the transfer of development rights.

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Seattle bank forecloses on Park Pointe

March 16, 2010

A Seattle bank foreclosed on the developer behind Park Pointe last week, and took control of the Tiger Mountain land near Issaquah High School where the developer wanted to build hundreds of residences.

Meanwhile, a federal judge dismissed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case tied to the developer, Wellington Park Pointe LLC.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Karen Overstreet dismissed the case after attorneys for the developer withdrew a plan to finance and build Park Pointe. Court documents dated March 3 allowed Regal Financial Bank to proceed with the foreclosure.

“The parties wish to avoid incurring additional attorneys fees, in what has been a very expensive matter, and what in all likelihood would be a very expensive trial,” the documents state.

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City intends to preserve Park Pointe regardless of ownership

March 2, 2010

The developer behind the stalled Park Pointe project and a Seattle bank cancelled a hearing in bankruptcy court last week, as the case appears to near a coda. Read more

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