Community members have a chance to provide input on how they want to preserve the character of Issaquah’s Olde Town neighborhood. A walking tour and workshop on Jan. 11 will give participants time to observe different elements and styles of housing then weigh in on new standards.
Issaquah updated its Olde Town Subarea Plan in 2018. The plan calls for new architectural guidelines and design standards for some areas. That includes a property’s appearance, such as types of materials, window varieties, set-backs and roof styles.
The conversation at the upcoming event will center around single family-duplex zoning in Olde Town, and it will start to define what the community thinks should or should not be considered for the guidelines. Different traits of houses will be in question and the city wants to gauge people’s interest.
Christen Leeson, senior planner, said the city overwhelmingly has heard during outreach efforts that people want to preserve the character of the neighborhood — now they’re trying to figure out exactly what that means. What characteristics, specifically, are community members interested in preserving or changing?
“This is something the city’s never done before. We heard people wanted to preserve character,” she said. “Well, how much do they really want to do it? Where do their interests lie?”
Beginning at 9 a.m. at the Issaquah Senior Center, folks can go on a walking tour for one hour with city staff pointing out different elements of homes, like roofing, yards, doors and windows, that could potentially be a standard. The tour is intended to familiarize with the elements of different houses and different styles.
Leeson said while people often see the houses, they don’t necessarily observe the particular elements. Specifically, there are seven different types of housing elements under observation during the event: architectural style and massing, roof form, materials and color, windows, driveways and garages, front yards, and fencing.
Then, when the walking tour returns to the senior center, the workshop will run from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning with a presentation. After that, participants will break into small groups to discuss and share feedback.
No registration is required for the event. Anyone is welcome to show up and the city is hoping to get a lot of people. There will be coffee and treats.
“This is about their houses, so we really want to hear what people think,” she said.
Leeson said that although it’s cold out this time of the year, folks won’t have to brave the weather for too long or walk very far. Folks are welcome to participate in either – both parts are optional.
“Come to one or come to both,” Leeson said.
Notes from the meeting will be posted online at www.issaquahwa.gov/oldetowncode.