Issaquah City Council had a well-attended meeting last night to discuss a major amendment to the Issaquah Highlands, which was detailed yesterday.

Local residents were generally supportive of the proposal, with my favorite comment coming from a woman who lives in the Highlands and welcomed additional growth by declaring, “Our strength is in our density.” Concerns were raised about the need for additional investment in transportation, schools, and parks to accompany the increased density in the Highlands, but the most pointed criticism was directed at Polygon Northwest’s proposed location for affordable housing.

Proposed location of 25 affordable units on city-owned land. (City of Issaquah)
Proposed location of 25 affordable units on city-owned land. (City of Issaquah)

Criticism was generally constructive, celebrating the inclusion of affordable housing while pushing for the affordable units to be moved closer to the town center. Commentators argued that integrating affordable housing into the Westridge development:

  • Improves access to transit for those in need; and
  • Better integrates the affordable housing into the neighborhood.

Several people also expressed a preference for “low-income” housing rather than simply “affordable-housing,” which is very much a relative term in this housing market, or questioned if the city was getting good value for a “view” property in the Highlands.

The public comment will continue at the Land and Shore Committee meeting today at 6.30pm. City staff will also provide some additional data around Highlands and overall Issaquah growth trends and plans to place Polygon’s transfer of development rights (TDR) request in context.

The Issaquah City Council will be holding a public hearing today (Wednesday, January 18th at 6.30pm) on the proposed amendment at Council Chambers in City Hall South.

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