save cougar mountain

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save cougar mountain
From Development

Cougar Mountain from Issaquah Valley showing area of proposed 40 homes

The southern mountain flanking the Issaquah Valley floor is called Cougar Mountain and is referred to as part of the “Issaquah Alps” or gateway to the Cascades. It is rich with wetlands, wildlife, streams that feed salmon runs and hillsides with old growth forest canopy.

 

Unfortunately, a highly visible portion of Cougar Mountain with its expansive forested views is being threatened by a scarring development.  Forty-five acres of pristine land proposed for development could potentially change the view of the Issaquah Alps forever.  Sixty percent of this land encompasses critical areas with 27 acres holding wetlands, streams and steep slopes.

 

In order to develop 57 homes, two of six wetlands will be filled in and stream buffers reduced. Grading of steep slopes will displace 134,000 cubic yards of soil and vegetation and remove 8,800 truckloads of earth from the mountain. Significant tree canopy will be removed from the forested hillside leaving a scar visible from I-90 and surrounding areas.

 

Homes will be built on steep slopes in an area where over 50 percent of the land has been identified as high risk slide potential. The nearby Talus Parcel 9 slide had been identified as “low” risk.  A 12% grade road will cut through forty percent slopes as it winds up the mountain from Newport Way toward the Talus development. All of this development and forest destruction will occur in exchange for 57 homes.  

 

In early 2017, residents from surrounding Cougar Mountain neighborhoods organized to oppose a proposed Development Agreement between the City and the Developer.  The Agreement would have allowed the construction of 80 homes, or twice as many homes as allowed by current zoning codes. It also included building a road with increased traffic from Newport Way over Cougar Mountain through quiet Talus neighborhoods and streets.  The City Council concurred with neighborhood groups and voted unanimously against the Development Agreement.

 

However development can still occur under traditional codes. The land in question is currently owned by the Bergsma and Rech families and is in the planning stage through Windward Development Corporation. Although the Bergsma family has been unable to develop this parcel for the last 30 years because of the complexities of the site, increasing development pressures may make it more attractive to large out of area developers.  Although the Bergsma family has been unable to develop this parcel for the last 30 years because of the complexities of the site, increasing development pressures may make it more attractive to large national developers.

Clearly the Bergsma family has a right to develop their property under traditional codes now that the denser clustered housing development was defeated - and clearly they should be compensated for their property.  But is there a way to create a legacy known as the Bergsma Parkland rather than the Bergsma Cut?

 

What is needed here is a new vision

- a vision that reflects the love of Issaquah residents for our beautiful and unique forested Alps; a vision that says enough to the destruction of our forested hillsides; and a vision that equitably compensates the owners for their land.

 

The Bergsma land connects and shares property lines with the King County Cougar Mountain Park.  This 45-acre stretch of the Issaquah Alps lends itself perfectly to parkland, open space, and family friendly hiking.  Such use would be consistent with the Issaquah Comprehensive Plan that touts the development of housing on the Valley floor and the preservation of our critical areas and forested hillsides.

 

There is a clear opportunity to bring together resources and energy to save this significant swatch of Cougar Mountain. This could include partnerships among the City of Issaquah, King County Parks, the Trust for Public Land, as well as private donors and local conservation and environmental groups.

 

It is time for our City and County leaders, landowners and residents to come together and preserve this land for future generations.

Cougar Mountain from Issaquah Valley showing area of proposed 40 homes

Cougar Mountain view with homes using specifications from developer

Cougar Mountain Talus Parcel 9 land slide occurred in 2015 – current photo

The southern mountain flanking the Issaquah Valley floor is called Cougar Mountain and is referred to as part of the “Issaquah Alps” or gateway to the Cascades. It is rich with wetlands, wildlife, streams that feed salmon runs and hillsides with old growth forest canopy.

 

Unfortunately, a highly visible portion of Cougar Mountain with its expansive forested views is being threatened by a scarring development.  Forty-five acres of pristine land proposed for development could potentially change the view of the Issaquah Alps forever.  Sixty percent of this land encompasses critical areas with 27 acres holding wetlands, streams and steep slopes.

 

In order to develop 57 homes, two of six wetlands will be filled in and stream buffers reduced. Grading of steep slopes will displace 134,000 cubic yards of soil and vegetation and remove 8,800 truckloads of earth from the mountain. Significant tree canopy will be removed from the forested hillside leaving a scar visible from I-90 and surrounding areas.

 

Homes will be built on steep slopes in an area where over 50 percent of the land has been identified as high risk slide potential. The nearby Talus Parcel 9 slide had been identified as “low” risk.  A 12% grade road will cut through forty percent slopes as it winds up the mountain from Newport Way toward the Talus development. All of this development and forest destruction will occur in exchange for 57 homes.  

 

In early 2017, residents from surrounding Cougar Mountain neighborhoods organized to oppose a proposed Development Agreement between the City and the Developer.  The Agreement would have allowed the construction of 80 homes, or twice as many homes as allowed by current zoning codes. It also included building a road with increased traffic from Newport Way over Cougar Mountain through quiet Talus neighborhoods and streets.  The City Council concurred with neighborhood groups and voted unanimously against the Development Agreement.

 

However development can still occur under traditional codes. The land in question is currently owned by the Bergsma and Rech families and is in the planning stage through Windward Development Corporation. Although the Bergsma family has been unable to develop this parcel for the last 30 years because of the complexities of the site, increasing development pressures may make it more attractive to large out of area developers.  Although the Bergsma family has been unable to develop this parcel for the last 30 years because of the complexities of the site, increasing development pressures may make it more attractive to large national developers.

Clearly the Bergsma family has a right to develop their property under traditional codes now that the denser clustered housing development was defeated - and clearly they should be compensated for their property.  But is there a way to create a legacy known as the Bergsma Parkland rather than the Bergsma Cut?

 

What is needed here is a new vision

- a vision that reflects the love of Issaquah residents for our beautiful and unique forested Alps; a vision that says enough to the destruction of our forested hillsides; and a vision that equitably compensates the owners for their land.

 

The Bergsma land connects and shares property lines with the King County Cougar Mountain Park.  This 45-acre stretch of the Issaquah Alps lends itself perfectly to parkland, open space, and family friendly hiking.  Such use would be consistent with the Issaquah Comprehensive Plan that touts the development of housing on the Valley floor and the preservation of our critical areas and forested hillsides.

 

There is a clear opportunity to bring together resources and energy to save this significant swatch of Cougar Mountain. This could include partnerships among the City of Issaquah, King County Parks, the Trust for Public Land, as well as private donors and local conservation and environmental groups.

 

It is time for our City and County leaders, landowners and residents to come together and preserve this land for future generations.

Cougar Mountain from Issaquah Valley showing area of proposed 40 homes

Proposed plat for 57 homes

Vicinity Map of area to be developed south of I90 and West of SR900

Area map of property

The southern mountain flanking the Issaquah Valley floor is called Cougar Mountain and is referred to as part of the “Issaquah Alps” or gateway to the Cascades. It is rich with wetlands, wildlife, streams that feed salmon runs and hillsides with old growth forest canopy.

 

Unfortunately, a highly visible portion of Cougar Mountain with
its expansive forested views is being threatened by a scarring development. Forty-five acres of pristine land proposed for development could potentially change the view of the Issaquah Alps forever. Sixty percent of this land encompasses critical areas with 27 acres holding wetlands, streams and steep slopes.

 

In order to develop 57 homes, two of six wetlands will be filled in and stream buffers reduced. Grading of steep slopes will displace 134,000 cubic yards of soil and vegetation and remove 8,800 truckloads of earth from the mountain. Significant tree canopy will be removed from the forested hillside leaving a scar visible from
I-90 and surrounding areas.

 

Homes will be built on steep slopes in an area where over 50 percent of the land has been identified as high risk slide potential. A 12% grade road will cut through forty percent slopes as it winds up the mountain from Newport Way toward the Talus development. All of this development and forest destruction will occur in exchange for 57 homes.

In early 2017, residents from surrounding Cougar Mountain neighborhoods organized to oppose a proposed Development Agreement between the City and the Developer. The Agreement would have allowed the construction of 80 clustered homes. It also included building a road with increased traffic from Newport Way over Cougar Mountain through quiet Talus neighborhoods and streets. The City Council concurred with neighborhood groups and voted unanimously against the Development Agreement.

Cougar Mountain from Issaquah Valley SR900 & Gilman Blvd. shows area of proposed 57 homes

Cougar Mountain view with homes using specifications from developer

However development can still occur under traditional codes. The land in question is currently owned by
the Bergsma and Rech families and is in the planning stage through Windward Development Corporation. Although the Bergsma family has been unable to develop this parcel for the last 30 years because of the complexities of the site, increasing development pressures may make it more attractive to large national developers.  

Clearly the Bergsma family has a right to develop their property under traditional codes now that the denser clustered housing development was defeated - and clearly they should be compensated for their property.  But is there a way to create a legacy known as the Bergsma Parkland rather than the Bergsma Cut?

 

What is needed here is a new vision

- a vision that reflects the love of Issaquah residents for our beautiful and unique forested Alps; a vision that says enough to the destruction of our forested hillsides; and a vision that equitably compensates the owners for their land.

 

The Bergsma land connects and shares property lines with the King County Cougar Mountain Park. This 45-acre stretch of the Issaquah Alps lends itself perfectly to parkland, open space, and family friendly hiking.  Such use would be consistent with the Issaquah Comprehensive Plan that touts the development of housing on the Valley floor and the preservation of our critical areas and forested hillsides.

 

There is a clear opportunity to bring together resources and energy to save this significant swatch of Cougar Mountain. This could include partnerships among the City of Issaquah, King County Parks, the Trust for Public Land, as well as private donors and local conservation and environmental groups.

 

It is time for our City and County leaders, landowners and residents to come together and preserve this land for future generations.

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