Neighbors whose property could be adversely affected by development of the 120 acres owned by Lakeside Development turned out at the Oct. 25 meeting of the city’s planning policy commission to express their concern.
The change of zoning — from “single family estates” and “mineral resources” to “urban village” as part of the proposed development agreement, was recommended by the commission. However, it’s far from a done deal.
The Lee family has operated a family-owned mining business on the property for 58 years. It processes gravel, makes gravel products and recycles asphalt concrete.
John Hempelman, Lakeside’s land use and environmental lawyer, said the vision is to keep the mine active for concrete and asphalt production until it’s mined out, phasing in development a little bit at a time.
This isn’t going to happen overnight. The long-term vision is over 20 to 30 years, he said.
“We’re taking what could be a scar on the hillside into what would be an urban village,” Hempelman said.
He said the state would require only a 2-1 slope with hydroseed, but the Lakeside plan requires significantly more fill, so there would be less of a grade. The Lee family would be responsible for long-term reclamation of the property, he said, adding that the vision is somewhat similar to a hillside village in Italy.
Associate planner for the city, Jason Rogers, said the rezoning of the Lakeside property also would offer opportunity for reasonably priced homes.
Lakeside’s property is also a transfer of development rights (TDR) receiving site, one of the largest in the greater Seattle area. As it stands, 700 residential units are possible for the site, but using the TDR, an additional 500 units could be added for a total of 1,200 units.
The geography of the site is by no means a perfect square. Highlands Drive Northeast divides the land; the piece to the east of Highland Drive features a narrow strip of land to the north with a triangular jog to the far northeast. Residents of the Issaquah Highlands who abut this narrow strip, say they are concerned about any building on this strip diminishing their property values.
Ann Finney would look right down on it. She expressed concern about the possibility of a 7-story building affecting her view, and asked for lower height restrictions. Another neighbor said the strip is too narrow for development, noting that it provides green space. He said it’s inappropriate for the plan and should be left out.
Hempelman said anything over 4-stories would not be allowed in the strip, which he called the panhandle, eliciting groans from the audience.
Another concern voiced by homeowner David Crist was surface water runoff due to the higher density.
Although Lakeside has applied for the change to be an urban village, local business owner Connie Marsh criticized Lakeside’s plan for not looking like an urban village because there’s been no conversation about anything other than residential units.
“They’re proclaiming mixed use, but there’s been no talk of anything but housing,” she said.
The next meeting concerning Lakeside Development’s plan will be the Urban Village Development Commission meeting Nov. 7, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Issaquah City Hall, in council chambers. The commission normally would meet on Tuesday, but it changed the date due to the election.