Friday, September 6, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Puget Sound Newswatch

Builder Land Swap Preserves Forest

ISSAQUAH - As bulldozers lumbered across a clearing yesterday, King County leaders and developers celebrated several hundred yards away in a forest that will stand for generations.

Years of debate over the city-size development, Grand Ridge, also won the public 1,400 acres of open space at the county's urban-rural boundary.

Grand Ridge will cover 503 acres with 3,250 houses and apartments, 2.9 million square feet of commercial space and 425,000 square feet for retail stores.

In exchange, Port Blakely Communities has deeded forested land to the public that is larger than the Washington Park Arboretum and Marymoor, Woodland, Seward, Lincoln and Volunteer parks combined.

The unusual land-use compromise is known as King County's 4-1 plan, a policy that required developers to give 4 acres of open space for every 1 acre of development.

Grand Ridge owners had the right to build large homes on 5-acre lots. Instead, the project is one of four planned communities that planners say will cluster urban-level development while keeping surrounding areas rural.

But controversy continued yesterday as the celebration was greeted by pickets.

Residents along Black Nugget Road have filed suit against the developers, the county and the city of Issaquah over increased


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