The city of Issaquah has had a moratorium on certain development since September of last year. File photo

Moratorium to go until end of 2017

Issaquah will see another Christmas before the citywide moratorium is lifted.

The Issaquah City Council voted unanimously after a public hearing at the Aug. 7 meeting to extend the moratorium on certain development through the end of the calendar year, drawing the moratorium out to a total length of about 16 months.

The council had previously voted on Feb. 21 to extend the moratorium through Sept. 6 of this year.

The moratorium was put into place as an emergency ordinance at the Sept. 6, 2016 council meeting as a way to halt development not meeting the standards of the 2012 Central Issaquah Plan.

Over the past year, the administration has been working on defining the Central Issaquah standards of architectural fit, urban design, parking, affordable housing, vertical mixed use and district visions. The six work plan items are scheduled to be completed by November, according to Economic Development and Development Services Director Keith Niven.

“This is a time in town when we’re actually sort of recreating ourselves to some degree … so this is probably the hardest thing Issaquah will go through,” Deputy Council President Mary Lou Pauly said. “It’s hard, and we have to have the right toolkit. And we started out with the wrong toolkit.”

During the public hearing, Chamber of Commerce Director Kathy McCorry asked the council to choose to lift the moratorium on behalf of the city’s economy and business community.

“Growth is still strong, however, all key indicators are showing it is slowing,” McCorry said. “Worst case scenario we hope to avoid is that the moratorium continues and by the time we are ready, the opportunity to welcome new business to Issaquah has passed.”

Pauly agreed with McCorry and acknowledged that “we are going to see a dip,” but emphasized that “the right thing to do is keep the moratorium in place.”

“I’m confident that we will again be welcoming to businesses and growth, done smartly after the moratorium has finished its important work,” Councilmember Tola Marts said, calling the moratorium “a tuneup.”

Other speakers during the public hearing, such as Elizabeth Maupin, stressed the need for affordable housing in Issaquah.

Marts pointed out the rather shocking statistic that the average house in the Seattle area has increased in value by $100,000 in the past year.

Councilmember Paul Winterstein brought up the fact that the affordable housing component of the moratorium applies to the city as a whole, rather than just Central Issaquah, but said that Niven had only spoken of affordable housing for the Central Issaquah Area.

“Should we really be considering lifting this moratorium right now when we are in fact not completing the full housing strategy that we originally envisioned?” he said.

Niven said that the “housing strategy as a whole” should be “put to bed” by the end of 2018.

Projects exempted from the moratorium according to the original ordinance include properties covered by development agreements; development having to do with public transit; public facilities like fire stations; public schools and Village Theatre; projects involving the sale and development of land owned by the city and public capital projects; remodels and tenant improvements; single-family homes on lots already vested through platting approvals; developments considered to be affordable housing, which are defined as being at least 40 percent comprised of affordable housing units; and emergency repairs or construction due to a natural disaster or similar cause.

More in News

Issaquah high student arrested on felony harassment charges

A female IHS student was arrested Sunday night after posting a video that contained “inappropriate and threatening language.”

KCSO found all but one of the 108 allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force were justified

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

File photo 
                                Issaquah City Hall.
Issaquah’s 2019 National Community Survey

Issaquah recently received the results of a National Research Center 2019 National… Continue reading

Photo captured from ISD dual language program YouTube video
                                Three ISD kindergarten teachers inform parents and families about the district’s first dual language immersion program. From left, Katie Afman from Clark Elementary, Savannah Williams from Issaquah Valley Elementary, and Stefani Terry from Clark Elementary.
ISD launches dual language immersion program

The Spanish-English dual language program will be housed at Clark and Issaquah Valley Elementary schools.

One of Hunter’s herds, located in King County, is fed a batch of hay. Horses, like these, are being housed on properties in numerous counties. Landowners allege that their owner hasn’t provided enough food or medical attention. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo
More than 100 horses are being hoarded by a nonprofit in Puget Sound

Under guise of nonprofit caring for rescued horses, allegations of animal cruelty arose.

Issaquah City Hall. File photo
Council takes first step to get state funding for affordable housing

Resolution paves the way to redirect tax revenue collected by the state back to local efforts.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
King County set to bring in tax-free housing funding

It’s set to reap $100 million over the next 20 years from state coffers.

Issaquah will decide whether to fluoridate its water

Some residents have expressed concerns about the practice.

File photo
                                Issaquah High School class of 2013 graduation.
IHS deliberates over graduation honors recognition

IHS seniors may not be able to wear graduation honors cords/adornments starting 2020.

Second annual Confluence Music in the Park happening Sunday

Harmonica stylings by Lee Oskar featured during the free event.

Port of Seattle grants fund economic development across the Eastside

2019 Port of Seattle funding supports economic development projects in Eastside cities.

Issaquah candidate campaign funding

Many candidates chose to raise less than $5,000, allowing them not to report.