100 Additional Units, Affordable Housing, Still Open for Discussion

By January 18, 2017Development News, Front Page, General

By Nina Milligan, Highlands Council, Communication Manager

Polygon Homes proposes to add 100 more homes to its residential development called Westridge North.

UPDATE – Thursday, January 19, 2017:

Committee Says No

Last night the City of Issaquah Council Land and Shore Committee held a special meeting in Council Chambers to cover an overload of agenda items from their previous meeting. At the top of the agenda was AB 7215 regarding Polygon Homes NW proposal described below. After presentations by staff, discussion by the councilmembers, audience comments and further discussion, almost two hours later the committee went down the line to express their opinions on the decision before them. None were in favor of Issaquah Highlands accepting the 100 residential unit TDRs. Denying that portion of the proposal made the affordable housing proposition moot. The committee will report their findings and ask for a formal, full council vote on February 21st.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
It is unusual to have a formal public hearing held in advance of City Council’s committee deliberations on an agenda bill. Furthermore, last night’s public hearing on Agenda Bill 7215 (the proposed 9th Amendment to the Issaquah Highlands Development Agreement) remains open while the Council sends the bill back to its Land and Shore Committee for further deliberations. What this means to you is that there is still time to influence the decision.

This bill regards transferring 100 additional housing units into Issaquah Highlands. The proposal also calls for the development of Tract D (at the corner of 15th Ave NE and College Drive) as affordable housing. While the Council continues to deliberate, the period for the public to speak out also continues, though comments that can be provided in other ways as well.

Tract D is located at the intersection of 15th Ave NE and College Drive.

If you have a strong opinion or information that can help the Council in this matter, you can address the Council’s Land and Shore Committee tonight, January 18th. The meeting starts at 6:30 in Council Chambers on E. Sunset.

And/or you can write the City Council, or an individual councilmember. (Find instructions on the City of Issaquah’s website.)

AB 7215 went before the Urban Village Development Commission (UVDC) for review in December. See our recap here >> . The UVDC voted unanimously to approve AB 7215, though with caveats. One caveat was to state that their decision did not have the benefit of information from the city’s SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) review had not been completed. In the meantime, the SEPA Checklist has received a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS), but this information was not available to the Commissioners for their review.

As the UVDC reviewed the application through the lens of the Urban Villages, City Councilmembers view it through a whole-city approach. At the January 5th Land and Shore Committee meeting, Committee Chair Mary Lou Pauly said, “Our Comp (Comprehensive) Plan also says we are going to focus growth in the Central Issaquah area, so why would it make sense to increase the density in Issaquah Highlands?”

At last night’s meeting, Council President, Stacy Goodman, asked if the development services staff could bring information to tonight’s meeting about how much housing was originally planned in Issaquah Highlands, and how much has been added over time.

The Councilmember’s questions indicate they remain undecided in this matter. This agenda bill is scheduled to return to the City Council for a decision on February 21st, another opportunity to voice an opinion or to present information.