Issaquah Highlands Architectural Guidelines
Guidelines, Criteria and Procedures
Click here to download the complete ARC_Guidelines (updated 09/2020)
The Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) grant the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA or Community Association) the legal authority, “to review and approve or disapprove the details and written plans and specifications showing the nature, kind, shape, height, material, colors, and location of proposed Living Units, buildings, fences, walls, or other structures, exterior additions to or changes or alterations therein, clearing or excavation of Lots or cutting of trees within Issaquah Highlands.” The Community Association vests such architectural review authority to the Architectural Review Committee (ARC).
The Issaquah Highlands Architectural Standards were created by the Declarant (Grand Ridge LLC) and Port Blakely Communities to provide design guidance and standards for builders and homeowners pursuant the CC&Rs. The Declarant has granted the IHCA Board of Directors (BOD or Board)
governance over the Architectural Standards and together, both parties work to evolve the guidelines as the community matures.
The ARC shall consist of at least five, but not more than seven persons who are appointed by the IHCA Board. Persons shall serve and may be removed and replaced in the Board’s discretion. The members of the ARC need not be Members of the Residential Association or representatives of Members, and may, but need not, include architects, engineers or similar professionals, whose compensation, if any shall be established from time to time by the Board.
Article 4.4 in the CC & R’s states:
“Each Owner acknowledges that the persons reviewing applications under this Article will change from time to time and that opinions on aesthetic matters as well as interpretation and application of the Architectural Standards, may vary accordingly. In addition, each Owner acknowledges that it may not always be possible to identify objectionable features of proposed work until the work is in progress or completed, in which case it may be unreasonable to require changes to the improvements involved, but the Reviewer may refuse to approve similar proposals in the future. Approval of applications or plans for any work done or proposed, or in connection with any other matter requiring approval, shall not be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to withhold approval as to any similar applications, plans or other matters subsequently or additionally submitted for approval.”
The purpose of this section is to establish standard review procedures and submittal requirements for all exterior improvements on single-family and multi-family properties. The procedures and requirements are designed to promote timely and complete reviews by the ARC. Architectural Review Applications must be approved by the ARC prior to commencing any work.
No proposed modification requiring ARC approval should be initiated until the approval process is complete and written or emailed notification has been received. Applications received after a project is started are not valid and may result in removal and restoration at the owner’s expense as well as applicable fines. It is the property owner’s responsibility to determine if government body (City of Issaquah or other governmental) approval is required. Approval by the appropriate government body does not relieve the property owner of responsibility to obtain ARC approval nor does ARC approval relieve the property owner of responsibility to obtain all required governmental approvals. The following review fees are non-refundable.
Some projects do not require a formal review or review fee but still require a completed application. The IHCA Community Manager will review all applications to ensure that all required information has been supplied and notify the Applicant of such in a letter or by email within three business days. Once the Applicant has received notification, the Applicant may proceed with the project.
The Applicant has the responsibility to ensure their project falls within the IHCA Community Architectural Standards. A formal review can be requested for any project. The review provides consultation time with the Community Manager and a review by the members of ARC. The process ensures compliance with ARC standards. All applications that fall within the ARC guidelines are approved.
The application process requires completion of the Issaquah Highlands ARC Application, Submittal Checklist, ARC Application Checklist, and Acknowledgement of Applicant forms. Applications may be found at the community website – www.IssaquahHighlands.com or obtained from the IHCA offices. The Applicant is required to supply the ARC with all items the ARC Application Checklist requires. Contact the IHCA Community Manager with any questions.
Formal Application Review Process
Delivery of the ARC application package is required to be received by the ARC at least seven (7) days prior to the next scheduled ARC meeting. ARC meetings are regularly held on the first Tuesday of each month. Any application received less than seven (7) days prior to the next scheduled ARC meeting, may not be reviewed and considered by the ARC until the ARC meeting for the following month. The application can be mailed or dropped off at the IHCA Office at the address set forth below:
c/o IHCA Offices
2520 NE Park Drive, Suite B
Issaquah, WA 98029
Applicants will be notified of the ARC decision, via email or standard mail, within one week after the ARC meeting. All projects must be started and completed within one year of application. Once the project has commenced, it must be diligently pursued without delays until complete. If the project is not completed in the allotted time, a new application must be submitted for approval.
There are specific guidelines for residents who live in either the Harrison Street or Grand Ridge Neighborhoods. Application for ARC review should refer to those guidelines as well as the general ARC guidelines.
ARC approval is not required for repairs or replacement of exterior items that use identical materials as were used in the original construction or added after the original construction (and written ARC approval was obtained). Examples of this may be repairing a cracked walkway with exposed aggregate, repainting of a home in the original colors (a color that has been previously approved), and replacing a broken light fixture with an identical fixture. Contact the IHCA Community Manager for guidance on deciding if an application to the ARC is required.
Major features of the house (such as vertical and horizontal lines, projections, trim details, gutters and downspouts, drainage, and materials to be used) must be reflected in the design of the addition. All alterations must be compatible with the original house and the neighborhood setting in style, materials and color. Attic ventilators, or other mechanical apparatus requiring penetration of the roof, shall be as small as functionally possible, shall be painted to match the roof, shall be located on the rear of the house whenever practical, and shall not extend above the top of the roof line.
Major alterations represent a substantial cost. The best way to start this process is to do the following:
Accessory structures include sheds, workshops and other buildings attached or unattached to your home. The City of Issaquah has detailed code requirements for accessory structures in the Issaquah Highlands. All accessory structures must be located only in the rear yard or side yard. Generally, accessory structures attached to your home will require a building permit so please check with the city. Detached structures of 120 square feet and 6 feet or less in height that are set-back five feet from the home and four feet from any property line do not require a building permit.
Accessory structures are required to blend with the house and maintain continuity of materials and color. Metal accessory structures are not allowed. If the structure creates an adverse visual effect from the street or from an adjacent home, the ARC may decline the application or require a fence to be built or placement of landscaping to screen the structure. Materials and colors must match or be compatible with the house and fence to which the structure is attached or near. This includes siding, roofing, paint or stain, and construction details such as trim and roof pitch.
Air conditioner installation requires notification only and is not subject to a $20 review fee. However, voluntary ARC reviews may be requested. Such reviews provide consultation time with the IHCA Community Manager and a review by the ARC. The process ensures compliance with ARC standards.
Please complete the application for Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps, and Generators showing location, brand and style of air conditioner and documented decibel rating. Applications must be submitted prior to air conditioner installation. The Applicant is required to submit a Completion Verification Form. It is advisable to retain copies as the Applicant is responsible for proof of notification and completion.
Air conditioners/heat pumps may be located on the side or rear of your home. The unit’s noise rating must be below seventy-five (75) decibels. Tubing and wiring attached to the home must be painted to match the house color.
Window air conditioning units must be mounted flush to the window and not allowed to protrude externally.
Requests from condominium homeowners must be submitted with written approval from the condominium association’s Board of Directors in order for the request to be eligible for consideration.
All decks must be compatible with the house in materials and color. Decks may be constructed of natural wood or composite decking materials (i.e. Trex). If natural wood is used, it must be painted or stained. All decks require ARC approval.
Machinery, equipment, and personal items may be stored under the deck only if the deck is enclosed by lattice or landscaping screening and these items are out of view of the neighbors.
Obstructing or redirecting the flow of drainage is prohibited. Any alteration to houses or lots, that may change existing drainage patterns onto adjacent lots, is prohibited without the approval of the appropriate governmental agency. Refer to the section covering the project planned for any specific guidelines for drainage.
Only hard, stabilized surfaces of concrete or masonry will be considered. No other material will be approved. The creation of additional parking spaces is not permitted. Special care must be exercised if changes alter drainage patterns. Runoff must be disposed of within the boundaries of the homeowner’s property.
Lighting that is not part of the original structure and/or changes in original lighting that are not compatible in style, scale, and color to the original lighting must have ARC approval. This shall include all walkway and landscape lighting not installed by the original builder.
The application should specify location of lighting on the property, height of light fixtures above the ground, wattage, and detailed descriptions of the fixtures.
Lighting shall not be directed outside the homeowner’s property lines or towards adjacent homeowners’ windows except to light adjacent sidewalks or paths.
Outdoor recreational fires are allowed only in professionally manufactured and/or installed natural gas or propane fire pits or fire places.
Adding living, wood, or metal fences in a pre-approved style does not require a formal application review. However, voluntary ARC reviews may be requested. Such reviews provide consultation time with the IHCA Community Manager and a review by the ARC. The process ensures compliance with ARC standards.
Complete the Fence Installation Notification form. Applications (with or without the review fee) must be submitted prior to fence installation. A Completion Verification Form is required to be submitted. It is advisable to retain copies as the Applicant is responsible for proof of notification and completion. A privacy fence will drastically alter the appearance of Applicant’s property and adjacent properties.For this reason, the ARC recommends that Applicant discuss fencing plans with neighbors prior to filing an application with the ARC.
Fences along Issaquah Highlands Park Drive are constructed inside the homeowners’ property lines and are the property of those homeowners. The fences must be maintained by the homeowner and kept painted or stained with an approved color.
Homeowners must determine the exact location of their property line and make sure that any fence constructed is within that property line prior to construction. The ARC recommends that homeowners who are unsure of their property line location have a survey done to avoid any conflicts. In the event that a fence is located outside of the homeowner’s property, the homeowner will be liable for all costs associated with relocation of that fence, including the cost of a professional survey. This rule applies to all encroachments, regardless of whether the encroachment occurred prior to or
subsequent to the adoption of the revised Architectural Review.
Fence frames must face the homeowner’s property. This is commonly called a “Good Neighbor Fence.”
Chain link fences are not allowed except for the purposes of pet enclosures.
Side yard fences attached to the house must have an opening or a gate on at least one side of the house to allow for access between front and back yards. (See diagram below.)
All permanent flag poles must be made of powder coated metal, aluminum or of fiberglass and must be securely mounted, in the ground. No banner arms or horizontal mounted flag poles are permitted. Flag poles must have an internal rope halyard system to minimize noise. Powder coated flag poles must be either an unobtrusive neutral color or the color of the house.
This does not cover non-permanent flags and pennants displayed on a temporary basis from a bracket affixed to a dwelling.
All arbors pergolas, gazebos, patio covers, and sun control devises require ARC approval prior to installation. Awning material and framing must be compatible with the house color. Wooden structures must be constructed of a rot-resistant wood and painted or stained. Metal structures must be powder coated. Composite decking materials (i.e. Trex) are acceptable. A sample of the color must accompany your application.
All hot tubs/spas must be located in the rear of the property and must incorporate a cover with securing mechanism. Hot tub and gazebo framing structures must be made of wood or similar composite/synthetic material and in a color compatible with the color of the house Issues taken into consideration are noise, size/location (including gazebo coverings), windows and softening by landscaping.
Seasonal color added to landscaping does not require ARC review and approval. Minor changes to landscaping require an application but do not require a formal review. However, to insure compliance with ARC Guidelines, an ARC review is encouraged.
A reasonable number of seasonal planters or pots does not require ARC approval, however if pots are intended to be permanent, an ARC application may be required for approval.
See recommended tree, plant and shrub list in Appendix C for information on acceptable additions to residential landscapes at Issaquah Highlands.
Landscaping can be effectively used to accent driveways, define space, create “soft” privacy screens, and reduce the visual impact of fences, and sheds. Since landscaping is a design element, consideration should be given to relationship to the applicant’s house and the neighborhood setting.
Homeowners are urged to consider their neighbor’s view when landscaping and the size and maturity of trees and plants being considered. Special care must be exercised if changes alter drainage patterns. Runoff must be disposed of within the boundaries of the homeowner’s property.
Applicants are reminded that Washington law requires the owner or their contractor to call the Underground Utility Locator Service at 1-800-424-5555 at least two business days prior to digging 12” or deeper.
Issaquah Highlands has been designed to three neighborhood types (see Appendix D for Division Map):
Each neighborhood type has a specific set of landscape standards to which the neighborhoods vision was created. Please see the three neighborhood Landscape Standards below:
HOUSE AND GARDEN
Landscaping in the house and garden neighborhood is typically lawn, trees and evergreen groundcover. A front lawn with evergreen foundation shrubs forms the basic landscaping.
Hillside Landscaping: (Landscaping considerations when house lot slope exceeds 15 %.)
Landscaping in the cottage lane neighborhood occurs in the shared space areas: either in areas shared between pedestrians and vehicles or in areas for pedestrians and residents. Areas shared with vehicles are planted with durable materials and include elements that provide visual relief. Areas without vehicles can contain more versatile landscaping.
Hillside Landscaping (Landscaping considerations when house lot slope exceeds 15 %.)
Landscaping in the traditional townscape neighborhood provides year-round greenery and an element of formality for areas adjacent to public spaces. The private landscaping adjacent to public spaces defines the private space and provides visual relief and interest to the building facade.
Hillside Lanscaping: (Landscaping considerations when a house lot slope exceeds 15 %.)
SYNTHETIC AND ARTIFICIAL TURF
While drought tolerant landscapes consisting of natural vegetation are encouraged throughout Issaquah Highlands limited use of artificial and synthetic turf may be allowed subject to the following conditions. For low maintenance landscape alternatives and approved drought tolerant species, see Appendix C.
All synthetic turf shall be subject to the following conditions and shall be subject to review and approval by the Issaquah Highlands ARC prior to installation. Synthetic and artificial turf may be used in the following applications:
Front, Side, and Rear Yards
Synthetic turf shall meet the following minimum specification:
All synthetic and artificial turf shall be installed by a licensed, professional contractor with demonstrated experience working with artificial turf products. Installation must be covered by a minimum 15-year installation warranty.
No application or review is required for re-painting any part of the house with its original or existing color scheme. Prior ARC approval is required for new colors or any changes in exterior colors for houses, fences, decks, trim, and roofs in advance. Color chips (samples) must be submitted with the application along with a detailed description of where the colors are to be applied (trim, body, and doors, et al.), along with a photo of the home. Painting with a single exterior color is discouraged. Every attempt should be made to paint the exterior to blend with the surrounding neighborhood’s architectural elements and colors. Owners are encouraged to complement existing external building materials such as brick or stone by choosing subtle paint colors for contrast on the home’s body, trim, garage, and doors. Subtle contrast provides depth which will complement the overall home.
Color blocking (colors ending on an outside corner) is prohibited; all paint colors and materials shall end at inside corners of the structure. Colors must follow the existing architecture.
Patios must be located primarily in rear yards. Material shall be brick, stone or concrete. Mitigation of any possible adverse effects of drainage changes must be shown on the application. Homeowners shall be responsible for mitigation of any adverse effects of drainage changes after completion of patio construction.
Pet houses must be compatible with the homeowner’s house in color, material and size, and must be located where they will be visually unobtrusive and will have the least impact on neighbors for visibility, noise, and smell. Generally, this means away from shared property lines.
Chain link fences for dog runs will only be considered if inside solid privacy fencing, softened by supplemental landscaping, and well screened.
Enclosures to confine pet(s) in an area less than the entire back yard must be placed in a location where minimum nuisance and inconvenience is caused to neighbors, and away from shared property lines and living areas of neighborhood residences.
The following are expressly prohibited in all areas of Issaquah Highlands:
Short-wave radio and television antennae and all similar devices are not allowed on private or rental residences in Issaquah Highlands
Clotheslines of any type or style are not allowed within Issaquah Highlands.
Obstructing or retarding the flow of drainage is prohibited. Any alteration to houses or lots, which may change existing drainage patterns onto adjacent lots, is prohibited without the approval of the appropriate governmental agency.
Temporary structures are not allowed on any lot within Issaquah Highlands.
Trash, Building Materials
Lumber, used building materials or litter of any kind may not be stored on any lot in Issaquah Highlands. Excess material and debris must be removed immediately after completion of any construction project that has been approved by the ARC.
Recreational play equipment shall be placed in rear yards whenever possible. Consideration should be given to lot size, equipment size and design, and visual screening.
Considerations as to location, size, impact and noise will be reviewed with each application.
Basketball backboards may be attached to the house or garage when not visible from the street (e.g. garages on alleys, side-entry garages on courtyards).
Fixed freestanding or portable basketball backboards (Hoops) are allowed if the following requirements are met:
a. The Unit on the Residential Property where the Hoop is located is not an apartment, condominium or townhome;
b. The Hoop has bottom weight sufficient to eliminate any significant risk of tipping;
c. The Hoop is kept reasonably clean and in good working order, with a net fully intact, at all times;
Retaining walls must be used in combination with appropriate landscaping with aesthetic impact being considered. Retaining walls that alter existing landforms must provide adequate drainage. Concrete retaining walls exceeding 36 inches in height shall incorporate a special pattern, texture, or treatment to visually reduce the overall scale.
Rockeries and retaining walls located to separate a front yard from an adjacent public space or common area shall not exceed 42 inches in height. Walls located in a front yard shall be constructed of stone, masonry, brick, or concrete with shadow lines and reveals and complement the house style.
Side and Rear Yards
Retaining walls or rockeries exceeding 48 inches in height and located in side or rear yards shall be terraced or stepped in sections if they are:
a. Visible from a public space or common area; and
b. 15 feet or greater in length; and
c. Located within 10 feet of a sidewalk or other pedestrian walk.
These requirements do not apply to walls or rockeries in alleys.
When used in combination with walls or rockeries, plant materials shall be a minimum of 80% evergreen varieties.
Please submit drawings along with a photo or material sample to the ARC for approval prior to construction.
Sub-Community Associations within Issaquah Highlands may have additional restrictions and guidelines. Residents living within a sub-Community Association must request and receive approval from the sub-Community Association as well as the IHCA ARC.
All of the following restrictions comply with the most recent FCC rulings.
Satellite dishes are allowed under the following guidelines:
Homeowners are requested to be sensitive to their neighbors and work with the installers to choose a location for their satellite dish so that neighbors are not adversely affected. If the ARC finds that the above guidelines for the placement of the satellite dish have not been met, the ARC may require the relocation of the satellite dish at the homeowner’s expense.
All residents must file a Notice of Installation of Satellite Dish form prior to installation.
Siding of single-family homes within Issaquah Highlands must be of a wood, simulated wood or cementitious product. Vinyl and aluminum siding is prohibited on single-family homes.
All signs not addressed in the CC&Rs or IHCA Use Restrictions and Rules are subject to ARC approval.
The Washington State RCW 64.38.055 permits some regulation by the Association. The Association can require compliance with building codes, unobtrusive placement, painting, camouflage and other reasonable measures to ensure the safety of the installation and minimize the visual effect on the community. Please see the IHCA Architectural Request Process and Guidelines for Solar Panels.
All swimming pools (above ground, below ground, and prefabricated) must be located in rear yards. Alternate locations will be considered only for properties with an unusual configuration or topographical features.
The pool and any mechanical equipment must be completely enclosed by a six-foot high wood fence. Pool pump equipment should be located away from adjacent neighbors or enclosed to minimize the impact of noise. Fences and gates must conform to the specifications in the Issaquah Highland’s Architectural Standards. The fence application must be submitted with the pool application.
As the installation of a swimming pool is a major undertaking, an application for preliminary approval is recommended. The preliminary application should include a site plan showing dimensions of the pool, deck, fenced area, and relationship to the house, adjacent houses, and property lines.
Per IHCA Use Restrictions and Rules, any trash, recycling, or yard waste) containers and/or bags must be stored inside the garage or trash can enclosure during non-pickup hours.
Containers and/or bags may only be placed at the curb/street for pickup 12 hours prior to and 12 hours after pickup time.
The ARC will consider variance requests in accordance with the variance policy in section 4.5 of the CCR’s under the following circumstances:
* Odors from the containers and/or bags will not be considered a “Hardship” and residents will not be granted a variance for this reason.
To apply for a variance, please submit a Trash Can Variance Request and address the following items
**Residents of Divisions 30, 37, and 42, 50 have a specific hardship (very small garages) and will be granted a variance for the blue (recycle), green (yard waste) and grey (trash) containers if the following conditions are met:
If applying to erect a trash can enclosure, the designs shown in Appendix E have been pre-approved and require a Project Notification form only. Trash can enclosures are subject to Accessory Structure Guidelines.
IHCA retains the discretionary right to require trash, recycle and yard waste receptacles to be stored inside your garages under the public safety or nuisance rules, even if you have a variance. This will most likely be required during times of heavy bear or other animal activity in your neighborhood.
Trees on Private Land
Removing, altering or installing trees on private land
Homeowners wishing to remove trees, top trees or install trees on their own lots must follow the procedures outlined by the ARC and submit an application prior to doing any work with the following exceptions:
The written approval of the ARC is required for the alternation or modification of windows in the existing structure. Replacement windows must be of the style and design consistent with existing windows in the community.
All utilities, wires and pipes except for control or monitoring housings must be underground. This includes, but is not limited to, such additions as external light wires, satellite dish wires, sprinkler systems or any other electronic devices wires.