By Nina Milligan, Highlands Council, Resident Crofton Springs
Westridge South is a new home development slated for 72 single family homes on an Issaquah Highlands parcel now occupied by a storm water pond surrounded by a trail, due west of Swedish Hospital.
On Monday evening, February 2nd at City of Issaquah Council Chambers, the Urban Village Development Commission (UVDC) held a public hearing as part of its deliberations over the development’s Preliminary Plat application. Preliminary Plat applications deal with the subdivision of lots and tracts, not the design of homes. Home design features are overseen by the Builder ARC (Architecture Review Committee). Sarah Hoey, represents the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) on this ARC, as its Executive Director.
This map shows the development’s location west of Swedish Hospital’s western surface parking area and south of their surface parking area along 7th Ave NE. This map shows basic lot configurations, streets, sidewalks, an existing trail along the eastern edge, and woonerf connections to that trail on the east. (The woonerf in the southwest corner is designed for residential access only.) Tract D inside the loop road on the southern end is planned as a park. Street C enters the parcel from the north, from Discovery Drive.
The two-hour UVDC meeting began with the City of Issaquah staff presenting details of the proposed development, followed by the applicant, Polygon Homes, describing development details. Polygon’s presentation included home design renderings, even though design is not reviewed with this application.
The presentations were followed by the Public Hearing and open deliberations by the Commissioners. This is the first of two UVDC meetings to review this application. The second meeting on March 1st, 7pm at City Council Chambers. It will also include a Public Hearing. A UVDC recommendation to the City Council is expected at this second meeting.
The Commissioners expressed interest in parking, trails, grade, impacts on pedestrian and vehicular safety on Discovery Drive and the elimination of the existing, well-used trail around the storm water pond.
Public comments came from Mike Zalewski, resident of West Highlands Park, the Issaquah Highlands neighborhood to the northwest of the proposed development. He asserted that this development would be best if not built at all, but if it is to be, “Can we make a path around the outer perimeter that everyone can use rather than just getting rid of [the existing trail]?” He also described pedestrian and vehicular safety issues at the intersection of the proposed “Street C” and Discovery Drive.
David Kappler also spoke. Kappler is a past City Councilmember and Vice President of Issues and Advocacy of the Issaquah Alps Trail Club. His comments focused on tree wind-falls from the City of Issaquah property to the south and on the loss of the trail around the storm water pond. Kappler suggested, “Having a foot path perimeter trail on native soil around the south and west edge for daylight use only…would be welcome thing.”
In attendance, but not providing public comment were Sarah Hoey, Executive Director, IHCA and Christy Garrard, Executive Director, Highlands Council.
Whether you are interested in providing public comment or just listening to the proceedings, the second of two public hearings at the UVDC will be March 1st, 7pm at City Council Chambers. Written comments may be sent to Mike Martin, City of Issaquah, Department of Development Services. See the City of Issaquah, Active Projects List, for more information.
For more information about this and other future developments in Issaquah Highlands, see the February issue of Connections “Still Growing: The Development Update Issue”
Westridge South Plat Application, 20160209 Addendum, The Pond
Readers of this column expressed that filling of the existing pond does not seem right. Here is the explanation: The detention pond currently on the site is designed to serve the original 63 acre Microsoft parcel that stretches all the way north to High Street. That facility can be located anywhere on that property. Information included in the Staff Report for the UVDC meeting on February 2, 2016 states, “A previously constructed stormwater storage and infiltration facility will be abandoned (it is no longer needed) and new facilities will be constructed.”