Growth and Development
Issaquah is in both an enviable and challenging position at the edge of the urban growth boundary. Our rapid growth is driven by the desirability of the community, the economic prosperity of the region and state policies such as the Growth Management Act.
In the face of this growth, Issaquah has chosen to direct development to the valley floor to protect existing neighborhoods and our forested hillsides. As Issaquah continues to grow into a more urban place, the community must retain its character and provide more opportunities for jobs, entertainment, housing, and services to help ensure that livability remains a hallmark of the community.
Background Growth & Development is a top priority for Issaquah. During the community engagement, almost half of respondents named development as one of the greatest challenges for Issaquah in the near future. Participants fear that an unplanned influx of development would destroy Issaquah's "small-town" feel, rendering Issaquah indistinguishable from its more developed neighbors.
Between 2000 and 2010, Issaquah saw significant new construction (largely housing) on previously undeveloped sites. Most of these "greenfield" sites are gone but Issaquah is still growing. Washington's growth management policies require Issaquah to accommodate a share of regional growth, and a limited supply of large, undeveloped sites creates a need for "in-fill" development on smaller sites along with the redevelopment of some low-density sites into more intensive uses.
Denser development continues to be the subject of great debate in the community. The City's recent development moratorium allowed time to create new standards (that have now been adopted) to better fit new development within our community and to provide for jobs, housing, amenities, and services.
Neighborhoods retain their charm and distinctive character, pattern, and setting that includes both built and natural environments - (GD1)
- Update codes and standards to retain and protect essential characteristics in established neighborhoods.
Plans are implemented effectively with regular monitoring, community input, and forward-looking adjustments to improve livability and the balance of jobs and housing - (GD2)
- Conduct a review of progress towards growth targets.
- Establish interim targets for housing and jobs, and infrastructure goals, within Central Issaquah and the Regional Growth Center.
- Implement strategies and mechanisms to achieve balanced growth.
- Biennial review and monitoring report; code modification
- Moratorium work items evaluation
- Regulations to implement Central Issaquah neighborhood visions
- Policy options to preserve non-residential uses
- Hillside and steep slope protections
- Policy options to better focus residential development
- Enhance communication with the community about future plans including three-dimensional visualization of projects and plans.
- Proactively influence the next round of regional growth targets.
Infrastructure is planned in anticipation of future growth, leveraging development and incorporating innovative, sustainable, and resilient design - (GD3)
- Create a comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan (public and private) to address development areas planned for growth.
- Update impact and mitigation fees to support growth-related investments.
- Prioritize projects to address the Central Issaquah Plan vision and address gaps.
- Explore concepts for development of a new north-south under/over crossing in conjunction with light rail planning.
Across the city there are a variety of public amenities, housing types, educational, and other services that contribute to a livable community - (GD4)
- Identify and implement code changes and activities to address neighborhood-based and community-wide gaps in amenities and services.
- Develop code amendments to address missing middle and other housing option needs.