Olde Town Land Use Code Changes

Olde Town, Sign

Overview

Issaquah’s Olde Town Subarea Plan, which was updated in 2018, focuses on preserving our historic downtown core, and taking proactive and deliberate steps to improve the quality of life for local residents, businesses and visitors.

Background

In 2015, a Task Force was formed to provide recommendations on retaining Olde Town’s vitality. For the next several years, the City launched an extensive engagement process (including open houses and an online survey) before the City Council adopted an updated Olde Town Subarea Plan.

Code Updates

The plan includes a list of "Immediate Actions" to take place in 2019-20.

To implement some of those actions, several Land Use Code amendments are now being proposed to Council for adoption, including:

  1. Lowering the height limits for new commercial and new residential buildings in some zoning districts    
  2. Increasing the amount of hardscape surfacing allowed in some areas 
  3. Requiring ground floor commercial/retail on Front Street    
  4. Allowing small-scale retail in some areas along East Sunset Way   
  5. Developing incentives that reduce parking requirements for neighborhood-oriented commercial projects    
  6. Expanding the boundary where exceptions to parking regulations apply   
  7. Removing the code provision that allows for density from other areas of town to be transferred to existing parcels in downtown 

If the new land use regulations are approved, they will only apply to new development or remodels. In other words, all existing development and houses will be grandfathered to the previous regulations. See these maps for more details. 

Provide your input:  

Comments on these proposals may be submitted in writing to the Development Services Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA, 98027; via email; or at the meetings above.

Design Standards and Architectural Guidelines

The Olde Town Subarea Plan also calls for new Design Standards and Architectural Guidelines, or in other words, what a property will look like (types of materials used, window types, roof styles, sign design, screening around a parking lot, etc.).

The standards and guidelines would apply to the Cultural and Business District; Multifamily-High (East Sunset Way only) and Single Family-Duplex zones (see map).

Walking Tour and Workshop Recap  

On Jan. 11, the City hosted a Walking Tour and Workshop on Single Family-Duplex zoning (see map) at the Issaquah Senior Center. About 50 people attended the tour and presentation, and provided feedback on what they thought should and shouldn’t be regulated in relation to: architectural style and massing; roof form; materials and color; windows; driveways and garages; and front yards and fencing.

The City’s team is working to compile the comments and feedback from the workshop, and will be sending out a recap the week of Jan. 20.

Provide your input: 

  • Feb 12: Joint Planning Policy and Development Commission Meeting
  • March 10: City Council Study Session (no action taken)
  • June: Second Joint Planning Policy and Development Commission Meeting
  • August: City Council Meeting (action taken)

For questions or to provide comments, please contact Senior Planner Christen Leeson or by calling 425-837-3096.

Stay Connected

To stay connected on this project, subscribe to the Neighborhoods: Olde Town category in the City’s Notify Me tool.