Issaquah, Washington
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Future Development of Issaquah

The following are exerpts from the City of Issaquah's Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 1995 and amended in 2005. To view the full Comprehensive Plan, visit the City of Issaquah Planning Department.


When Issaquah completed its Comprehensive Plan in 1995, the City’s population was 9,025. Since then, the City has experienced rapid growth, and with the completion of projects such as Issaquah Highlands and Talus and future annexations, the City’s population is expected to more than double in the next twenty years. It is the responsibility of the City to manage this projected growth by setting in place policies that are consistent with GMA, ensure that capital facilities are adequate and financially feasible, and provide protection of sensitive and natural environments.

The City's GMA planning process began by identifying the following shared community concerns and values which define the goals found in each element of the Comprehensive Plan. These goals are not prioritized, as all need to be weighed and balanced as the community continues to grow.

  • Protect the natural environment
  • Enhance the sense of community
  • Maintain the small town charm, residential neighborhoods, and family atmosphere
  • Plan for a wide range of housing
  • Encourage economic vitality
  • Plan for future growth
  • Revitalize the CBD
  • Improve all modes of transportation
  • Maintain the forested hillsides
  • Protect our water source
  • Preserve the Issaquah Treasures
  • Maintain and encourage active community participation and cooperation in planning for Issaquah's future
  • Maintain and enhance quality design and community character
  • Protect the streams and enhance fish habitat, and manage flooding

Creation of the Comprehensive Plan was truly a community wide effort.

Land Use Vision

Issaquah is committed to encouraging growth in a manner that enhances the value and character of existing business and community investments. Land uses will continue to protect the quality of life the community holds dear and the physical environment we treasure.

Transportation enhancements will improve the City’s traffic congestion and maximize local opportunities to use convenient transit, bicycle, shuttle, trolley and pedestrian facilities. Improved linkages to these facilities will provide access to transportation alternatives.

Innovative development policies will provide diverse housing that will meet the growing demand for urban moderate and low cost housing. Policies will encourage retention of the City’s economic vitality and strive to create a balance between job-creation, available affordable housing and new demands on the transportation system.

Municipal operations will be dedicated to enhancing the community’s water and air quality, protection of critical areas and water resources, and provision of efficient public services to maximize public safety.

Municipal facilities will be developed in a fashion that does not overextend the community’s ability to pay for needed facilities or decrease service levels below locally established minimum standards. Land use policies and development regulations will allow for and accommodate growth in a manner that is fiscally conservative, responsive to the community, and protective of the natural environment.

Land Use Values

The Issaquah community values its historic small town charm and its natural setting, both of which make Issaquah a unique place to live. The City’s unique character will be retained and enhanced through a balanced growth strategy, which promotes a diversity of jobs and housing.

Existing Conditions

The population of the City was 17,060 persons as of April 1, 2005. Population growth in Issaquah consistently has been greater than the King County average.

The City's population growth over the planning period has been estimated using King County's projection at a 2 percent annual growth rate from 1995 to 2000, and at a 0.5 percent annual growth rate from 2001 to 2022 and taking into account planned developments which are known to be in the development "pipeline." These projections also recognize the numerous annexations since 1995. The population within the City is expected to grow 183 percent, from 9,025 in 1995 to 25,574 in 2022. Much of this growth is attributable to the subareas of Issaquah Highlands, Talus, North Issaquah and Providence Point/Hans Jensen. The population within the Potential Annexation Areas is expected to grow to 14,697 by 2022. This growth within the Potential Annexation Areas can be attributed to developed regions such as Klahanie and Greenwood Point

Community Character

Issaquah is a growing city that is determined to retain the positive attributes and quality of life associated with a small town community. Yet the City continues to feel the pressures and changes associated with increased development and traffic congestion. Through several community meetings, the citizens of Issaquah identified those distinctive aspects of the community that are representative of the character of Issaquah. Natural features such as Issaquah Creek and the surrounding Issaquah Alps as well as historic features like Pickering Farm and Fish Hatchery were identified as important elements, or “treasures”, that contribute to Issaquah’s overall sense of community.

These Treasures help define Issaquah's character as they represent a link between the past, the present and the future. Together with the citizens and neighborhoods, they make Issaquah a desirable city in which to live, work and visit.

LAND USE GOAL: Establish a pattern of development that maintains and enhances the quality of life within the community and sets the framework for a sustainable community by addressing environmental, economic and social issues by:

  • Protecting Issaquah's natural environment and scenic beauty;
  • Creating a diversity of high quality places to live, work, shop and recreate;
  • Providing for active public participation;
  • Requiring provision of the City's level of service for public services and public facilities and concurrent transportation facilities as a requirement of development approval within the City's Urban Growth Area;
  • Requiring multi-modal transportation as a key to a successful land use pattern which emphasizes pedestrian orientation, supports transit service, reduces the consumption of land and concentrates development;
  • Annexing areas within the City's Urban Growth Area to ensure compatibility with City standards and development regulations while providing for provision of the City's level of service for public services, public facilities and concurrent transportation facilities.
  • Incorporating Sustainable Community Development as an integral part of all City and Community functions to ensure Issaquah’s ability to meet future needs
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