Land Use Code Update

Drone shot over Issaquah


The Land Use Code update is a citywide effort aimed at improving the regulations that guide growth and development in Issaquah. This project will help us better preserve, strengthen and protect the patterns of development that define the character of the City.

The land use code is broken up into six different topic groups. Visit each page to learn more and view dates for upcoming meetings related to that topic::

  • Natural Environment: Aquatic critical areas, geo hazard critical areas, lighting, shoreline setbacks and dock lighting, and sustainability
  • Landscape & Open Space: Community space standards, green necklace, public, institutional, open space standards, landscape and tree density
  • Zoning & Uses: Zoning and permitted uses, land use standards, subdivision, parking, circulation facilities, form and intensity
  • Building & Design: Design and development standards, neighborhood overlays, Olde Town, single family and townhouse design standards, and building design
  • Zoning & Development Standards: Affordable housing, transfer of development rights, landmarks and archaeology, miscellaneous development standards, site planning and urban design, and terrain management
  • Procedures & Administrations: General provisions, procedures including public notice, SEPA rules, and wire


Title 18, the City’s Land Use Code adopted in 1996, has been modified annually to become a patchwork of ordinances. The Land Use Code update will generate an updated set of zoning and land use regulations that will replace the existing code. 


The goals of this project are to provide:

  • Improved clarity & predictability
  • Enhanced organization & usability
  • Integrating neighborhood-specific standards into the overall code
  • Improved environmental sustainability
  • Improved consistency with adopted plans and recent court decisions; and,
  • New requirements to better manage growth into the future.


The Land Use Code update is expected to last approximately 18 months; public engagement for this work is organized into four phases spanning from May 2021 through September 2022. 

  1. Phase 1 — Strategy
  2. Phase 2 — Drafting Code
  3. Phase 3 — Review
  4. Phase 4 — Adoption

May – July 2021

  • Project kick-off with Planning Policy Commission
  • Identify key stakeholders who should be involved
  • Determine how and when to best engage those stakeholders and other identified communities with vested interests in the Land Use Code update

Public Engagement

Public engagement to inform the City’s work in this effort is critical to developing a Land Use Code that aligns with the community’s values and needs for the future. The City is sharing information and gathering feedback through a variety of activities. This timeline was produced to assist with the complex project timeframe.

  1. Affinity Groups
  2. Planning Policy Commission
  3. Open House
  4. City Council Study Sessions

The City’s consultant team will engage organized stakeholder groups who have a vested interest in the code update to share information, gain a better understanding of their interests and gather feedback that can inform the code update process. These “affinity groups” will be organized around topic-specific sessions most relevant to the invited groups’ interest.

Sessions will be held virtually in summer and fall 2021. Each session will have a notetaker present to prepare a summary of what was discussed. Once all sessions are complete, a brief summary (memo) of all sessions will be shared with the Planning Policy Commission.