City officials mull change to Klahanie annexation area

February 16, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Klahanie residents asked the City Council to reconsider a still-nascent proposal to redraw a key growth map, as Issaquah officials consider annual changes to the city growth plan.The council heard Feb. 1 from 13 Klahanie residents who encouraged Issaquah not to cede the community to potential annexation by Sammamish. The residents also protested a proposal by Sammamish to take over Klahanie Park.

Proposed amendments to the city growth blueprint to evaluate the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area — about 1,200 acres spread across several subdivisions and home to about 11,000 residents — prompted residents to address the council.

But the council did not discuss the proposed amendments and sent the items to the Council Land & Shore Committee for review. Issaquah Planning Director Mark Hinthorne said city planners included the proposed Klahanie amendment as a placeholder.

“If the council decides not to do anything this year, it’s a no-change situation,” he said. “It doesn’t affect our planning at all.”

Issaquah and Sammamish officials entered discussions in December about tweaking the map to include Klahanie in long-term growth plans for Sammamish instead of Issaquah.

Concerned Citizens of Klahanie — a neighborhood group opposed to a Sammamish takeover of the park —initiated the address to the Issaquah council. The organization claims almost 500 members.

Gisela Bleiweiss, who lives near Klahanie Park, urged Issaquah officials to stop the park transfer from King County to Sammamish.

“We don’t feel it’s fair for us to have this land that’s always been there with us and Sammamish can take it and do whatever they want,” she said. “We have no representation and we can’t vote them out of office if they do things we don’t like.”

Klahanie, in unincorporated King County, borders Sammamish and Issaquah. The park borders Sammamish to the north.

Then-County Executive Kurt Triplett proposed closing Klahanie Park and 38 others in unincorporated areas last August to help the county close a budget gap. County Parks Director Kevin Brown has said the park will close this year unless the county can find a new owner.

If Sammamish and King County reach a deal to transfer the park, then Issaquah and Sammamish could move to amend the cities’ comprehensive plans, or long-term growth blueprints. Only Issaquah can annex Klahanie until officials redraw the potential annexation area. A vote by Klahanie residents to annex faltered in 2005.

The neighborhood group has also raised concerns about a proposal to construct a signal tower in Klahanie Park near recreation facilities. King County officials accepted comments on the proposal until Feb. 16.

“We don’t think that’s a very good location for the tower,” Klahanie resident Rolfe Lindberg said. But he said another location in the park, in a less obvious place, might be suitable for the tower.

“Personally, I don’t really care whether we are annexed ultimately by Sammamish or by Issaquah, but I do think that Klahanie as a package needs to stay intact,” Klahanie resident Ken Stanfield said. “I think our park is an important part of that. I think that it may be the park today, but if we don’t solve this issue of not belonging to either Sammamish or Issaquah, it’s going to be Klahanie Boulevard some other day.”

Hinthorne said action by Issaquah hinges on whether council members decide to pursue the Klahanie switch. Then, officials will discuss the proposal further with neighboring Sammamish.

“We need to make sure we’re on the same page as Sammamish,” Hinthorne said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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