Highlands Council FAQs
The following are commonly asked questions about Highlands Council and its role as a community-building organization in Issaquah Highlands.
Highlands Council (a 501(c)4) is the nonprofit community entity responsible for enhancing and ensuring the quality-of-life aspects of all of Issaquah Highlands and complements the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA), which focuses only on issues related to residential enforcement and maintenance under the Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
The purpose of Highlands Council is to develop a vibrant and caring community and promote greater community involvement, life enrichment, and sustainability of the entire community.
An essential component of building a sense of community involves listening to the voice of community stakeholders. The Highlands Council Covenant for Community creates opportunities for stakeholders to build and sustain a sense of community for years to come.
Highlands Council is responsible for organizing, funding, and administering activities, services, and programs that are necessary, desirable, and appropriate to fulfill its mission. Highlands Council manages the community center Blakely Hall, organizes community events like Highlands Day, and manages community communication tools like the Connections newspaper, issaquahhighlands.com, weekly email bulletins, and official social media sites. Highlands Council serves as a greater community liaison and oversees the integrity of the community brand.
There is a legally filed Covenant for Community on each residential unit that describes the responsibilities and governing aspects for Highlands Council. The Covenant covers six categories:
- The Community at Issaquah Highlands
- Council Governance for Issaquah Highlands
- Tools for Community Achievement
- Connections and Community
- Issaquah Highlands as a Special Place
- Network System – Highlands Fiber Network
The IHCA, the Issaquah Highlands homeowners association, is limited to concerns and issues affecting individual residential homeowners and residential common areas as defined in the CC&Rs. The scope of Highlands Council is much broader and affects multifamily (rental units) and commercial/retail (shops), as well as residential to achieve the development of a vibrant and caring community.
All homeowners in Issaquah Highlands are stakeholders in Highlands Council when they purchase their home/property, including multifamily units (apartments) and commercial/retail units. Because the Covenant for Community was adopted after the first 422 homes in Issaquah Highlands (Phase I) were developed, these residents were given a period of voluntary open enrollment in Highlands Council in the fall of 2006. At that time, 132 residents enrolled. There are enrollment opportunities available for the remaining Phase 1 residences. In the meantime, Phase 1 residences contribute to Highlands Council by paying a transfer fee when they sell their home, as addressed in Section 7.11 of the IHCA CC&Rs.
All homeowners in Phase 2 became stakeholders in Highlands Council when they first purchased their homes.
How do homeowners in Phase 1 become stakeholders in Highlands Council? When can I become a stakeholder?
To become a Highlands Council stakeholder, Phase 1 homeowners can learn about all aspects of Highlands Council and sign and record a Council Participation form. Contact Michele McFarland, Highlands Council controller, for more information.
The stakeholder position in Highlands Council is attached to your home, regardless of who owns it.
- Opportunities to participate in the planning and design of Highlands Council projects.
- The opportunity to join community groups and other programs supported by Highlands Council.
- Access to a free community publication, community website, and weekly email bulletin.
- Access to the community center Blakely Hall.
- Opportunities to support community-building activities, which enrich life in Issaquah Highlands.
Does my position as a Highlands Council stakeholder belong to me, or does that position remain with my home?
Your position as a Highlands Council stakeholder is attached to and will remain with your home. Stakeholders who sell their homes agree to pay the Community Enhancement Fee at the time of resale.
The Community Enhancement Fee – the major source of funding for Highlands Council – is 0.25 of 1% (0.0025%)* on the resale price of the home, paid by the seller at closing. Commercial properties pay annually by their square footage, and multifamily owners pay annually by the number of doors.
*Some exceptions apply. Contact Michele McFarland, Highlands Council controller, at email@example.com to confirm your home’s status in the Covenant for Community and the Community Enhancement Fee for your home. Read the full document online here.
In addition, will I be subject to the potential transfer fee outlined in Section 7.11 of the IHCA CC&Rs?
No. As a Highlands Council stakeholder, you will not be subject to a transfer fee. Stakeholders in Highlands Council are exempt from any transfer fee. Only non-stakeholders (those residents in Phase 1 early development) pay the transfer fee.
If I sign up for Highlands Fiber Network (HFN) services, am I automatically a stakeholder in Highlands Council?
No. To become a Highlands Council stakeholder, you must sign a separate document. As established by the Covenant for Community, Highlands Council stakeholders are required to take a minimum level of HFN service. Homeowners must be Highlands Council stakeholders to be eligible for an upgrade to gigabit internet service provided by HFN.
Why should I pay to participate in community events when I already pay homeowners dues and assessments?
Homeowners dues and assessments cover the cost of management of the concerns and issues of individual homeowners and neighborhood associations as well as the enforcement of the IHCA CC&Rs on maintenance, repair, and replacement of private roads and alleys, insurance, management, accounting, utilities, and landscaping/irrigation of residential common areas. These assessments are established annually by the IHCA Finance Committee (resident volunteers) on behalf of the IHCA.
Issaquah Highlands residents, retail, and apartment communities need to budget and fund this vital part of the community vision to continue to develop a vibrant and caring community by promoting greater community involvement, life enrichment, and sustainability of the entire community. This is made possible through enhancement fees, transfer fees, sponsorships, grants, in-kind donations, participation fees, and Blakely Hall rental fees paid to Highlands Council. Highlands Council operates from a separate budget.
Highlands Council’s affairs are governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees, each member with one equal vote. Members include community members and other stakeholders.