An aerial view of forested land with a circle indicating the 12 acres planned for single-family home development.
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park with proposed Isola Homes development site. (Save Coal Creek)

Critics say the tract of detached houses would increase sprawl, harm critical wildlife habitat.

This Saturday, February 11th, Save Coal Creek and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club are calling people to come out and protest against a 35 single-family home development planned on 12 acres adjacent to Coal Creek Natural Area, one of the Eastside’s most significant green spaces and a habitat corridor for area wildlife. Organizers are calling on the City of Bellevue to acquire the land so it can be preserved as a public public park.

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci and Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson will be the keynote speakers at the rally, which will take place at Newcastle Beach Park at noon. In the lead up to the rally, a march is scheduled to depart from Red Town Trailhead in Newcastle at 9am. The march has two planned routes and participants are encouraged to join in wherever is most convenient for them.

The march against the Isola Homes development will begin at Red Town Trailhead and end at Newcastle Beach Park. (Save Coal Creek)

According to Save Coal Creek Steering Committee Chair Sally Lawrence, there are many reasons to oppose the Isola Homes planned development.

“Putting a housing development at this location is just plain wrong. Lakemont Boulevard SE has a continuous stream of traffic, no sidewalks, and no bus service or grocery stores nearby. The pedestrian crossing for hikers is very hazardous,” Lawrence said in a press release. “This development will push away wildlife that have nowhere else to go. Instead of the quiet rush of Coal Creek and the chitter of songbirds, hikers on the Coal Creek trail will hear leaf blowers and garage doors opening.”

Urbanist writers Shaun Kuo and Christopher Randels wrote an article criticizing the development last summer.

Accusations of NIMBYism fall flat in light of the site’s context. Notice how close the parcels are to Coal Creek, the near enclosure of the parcels by green space, and the wetlands and streams running through the parcels.

The city doesn’t need more single-family homes in transit deserts and irreplaceable green space, housing supply should be added with multifamily development closer to the city’s economic and transportation amenities.

The site is further complicated by its history and critical nature, which make the dramatic development of the site potentially unsafe and damaging.

Shaun Kuo and Christopher Randels, Bellevue Should Save Coal Creek from Sprawl Development, 6/18/2021

Despite the fact that the site has been identified as at-risk for erosion, Bellevue’s Development Services Department released their recommendation for permit approval on January 26th, news that has brought urgency to Save Coal Creek’s efforts.

In addition to the march and rally, the organization has created an online petition, which has already gathered over 3,900 signatures. The group is encouraging people opposed to the development to sign the petition and also to contact Reilly Pittman, lead planner for the Isola Homes proposed development at the City of Bellevue, (425) 452-4350,

If you want to learn more about the proposed development, site’s history and environmental significance, and how the City of Bellevue could go about buying the land, check out Kuo and Randel’s article. You can also watch the above video, which offers an introduction to the site and proposed development.

Article Author

Natalie Bicknell Argerious (she/her) is a reporter and podcast host at The Urbanist. She previously served as managing editor. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she loves learning how to make cities more inclusive, vibrant, and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle's Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email her at natalie [at] theurbanist [dot] org.