City Council delays undercrossing proposal

June 15, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Completing a piece of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing hinges on a pact headed to the City Council next week.

The city needs to secure right of way along 221st Place Southeast in order to complete paving and install a traffic signal where the road meets Southeast 62nd Street.

Staffers proposed a development agreement between the city and landowners Doug and Linda Ebi to acquire the right of way. The council held a public hearing on the proposed agreement June 7, but after residents and council members raised questions about the deal, sent the proposal to the city River & Streams Board and the Council Land & Shore Committee for additional scrutiny.

The measure will return to the full council for another hearing June 21.

The undercrossing should be completed in November. The phase attached to the Ebi property includes paving three lanes — but not installing curbs, gutters or sidewalks — from 221st Place Southeast to East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

In September, crews will start building a manmade wetland in Emily Darst Park to replace wetlands destroyed by the undercrossing construction.

The proposed agreement addresses land at 6033 221st Place S.E. The proposal calls for the city to restore creekside habitat and relocate a sign on the parcel, in addition to the roadwork. The deal also calls for the property to be held to existing development regulations for 10 years.

City Transportation Manager Gary Costa said staffers hoped to alter the agreement with the existing undercrossing contractor, MidMountain Contractors, to complete the 221st Place Southeast piece alongside the rest of the project.

The measure to change the contract should reach the council July 6. Otherwise, Costa said construction could be pushed into 2011, and the city might have to request bids from another round of contractors.

The stipulations in the proposal rankled citizen activist Connie Marsh and former Councilman David Kappler, the only people to address the council during the June 7 hearing.

Marsh said city rules could change during the decadelong timeframe, and the Ebi property could be exempt under the development agreement. She also raised concerns about potential damage to wetlands as a result of construction. The parcel sits alongside the North Fork of Issaquah Creek.

Kappler, then a councilman, reluctantly supported a separate pact last summer to secure additional right of way for the undercrossing. The former councilman said the city should not handle development proposals in a piecemeal fashion.

“I kind of think we’re setting a precedent for getting into this let’s-make-a-deal situation with every proposal coming towards us,” he said at the June 7 hearing.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

Get involved

City Council public hearing

Agenda: proposed Ebi property development agreement

7:30 p.m. June 21

Council Chambers, City Hall South

135 E. Sunset Way

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