The Issaquah City Council’s Land and Shore Committee added more conditions to the controversial parcel 7 of the proposed preliminary plat to develop the last three parcels in Talus.
The Urban Village Development Commission already added five conditions at its May 6 meeting, moving the issue to Land and Shore with no final recommendation. Land and Shore consists of chair Tola Marts and council members Stacy Goodman and Mary Lou Pauly. Since this preliminary plat has now become a quasi-judicial matter, no more public comment was allowed.
Pauly asked the city’s Land Development Manager Lucy Sloman if they could deny one of the parcels and, if so, what would that do to the applicant, Triad Associates. Sloman said Triad could appeal to the Superior Court or resubmit a new plat for parcel 7.
Parcel 7 has raised a number of concerns, including steep street grades, water reservoir tanks that have to be moved, dead-end streets (which are unheard of in Talus) and, of most concern, a retaining wall that at 800-feet long and 39-feet high at its tallest point, would be the largest retaining wall in Talus.
When asked, Sloman said this issue cannot be sent back to the development commission (UDVC).
Pauly was the most persistent in asking questions. She said she “gets” that (Triad) meet the requirements of the development agreement for Talus, but was it changing the character of the neighborhood?
One question is who would be responsible for the wall. At the development commission meeting and previous meetings, the homeowners in Talus made it clear they did not want the responsibility for a wall of that size. Goodman asked that question of Sloman.
“During the final plat the applicant can propose whether or not the HOA takes it or create a sub-HOA. HOA’s are required to have reserves,” Sloman said.
However, the wall has to be designed in order to get the final plat, so conditions could change she said. And, a permit can be issued for the wall before the final plat is approved.
Maintenance of the wall would have to be addressed in the final plat.
The wall, a total of 60,000-square feet is a behemoth, Pauly said. She also was concerned about street grades, some of which are at 15 percent, dead-ends and the water reservoirs.
“I got the feeling that (UDVC) could not with good conscious agree that this (parcel 7) met the standard,” Pauly said. “I don’t think these changes made a better neighborhood.”
While Pauly and Goodman were uneasy with the plan, Marts thought if Triad was meeting regulations it should be able to do what it was proposing.
Marts suggested a restoration bond for the wall in the event no one wants to take responsibility for it.
City staff will look at a bond, how to eliminate the dead-ends, how to avoid small public spaces that are of no use and ownership of the wall, among other things, before presenting the entire plat to the full city council June 2.