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The Issaquah School District (ISD) is proposing certain commitments for school site development at the Providence Heights Property. The Issaquah City Council is considering the re-designation and rezone of the Providence Heights Property as a part of the City of Issaquah’s 2019 Comprehensive Plan on the City Council agenda December 16, 2019. The District hopes to build a much needed fourth comprehensive high school and elementary school on the site. If the Council redesignates and rezones the property to permit that use, the District is proposing that any development would include vegetated buffers and sight obscuring landscape screening substantially in excess of the applicable minimum code requirements. The District proposes also to commit to ongoing communication with neighboring property owners, measures to encourage alternatives to single occupancy vehicle traffic, and design considerations for minimizing impacts of any stadium built on the property. The feasibility of these commitments is contingent upon the City and City Council review of proposed site plans through the project permitting process.
The District’s proposed commitments respond to some of the concerns heard by the District from neighbors in the adjacent Providence Point Umbrella Homeowners Association (HOA). Superintendent Ron Thiele, as well as members of the ISD’s Capital Projects team and representatives from the cities of Issaquah and Sammamish, met on several occasions in November 2019 with representatives of the Providence Point Umbrella HOA to discuss possible solutions to the HOA’s concerns.
“While we did not leave those meetings with an agreement with the HOA,” said Superintendent Thiele, “we appreciated the opportunity to engage with the community and learn directly from residents about their needs and apprehensions with regard to the impact of the proposed property use and development. I hope that our proposed commitments help address some of those concerns, while allowing us to build the schools our families and students need and expect.”
The District commits that any project permit proposal will include an average 60 foot vegetative buffer around the portions of the site that border residential properties, exceeding notably what would otherwise be required in the Community Facilities-Facilities (CF-F) zoning district for minimum setbacks. The District also commits to fully vegetating those buffer areas with sight obscuring landscape screening, again in excess of the minimum code requirements for both area and type. An illustration of how these commitments would function within a conceptual site plan is posted on the District’s website.
The proposed commitments align with and further the City of Issaquah’s code amendments for compact schools passed in 2017 and the proposed school site is situated within the King County Urban Growth Boundary as required by law. The District will only be able to move forward with the construction planning process if the Issaquah City Council votes to re-designate the property as “Community Facilities” and rezones the property to “Community Facilities-Facilities” (CF-F) at the December 16, 2019 regular meeting, as a part of its 2019 Comprehensive Plan Docket.
Detailed historical information about the efforts of the ISD to acquire and build on this property, links to Issaquah City Council videos and documents, and a conceptual site plan showing the vegetated buffer commitments are available on ISD’s Providence Heights web page. For more information regarding the design commitments, please contact Chief Financial Officer, Jake Kuper at 425-837-7016 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.