City Council puts concerns aside to approve undercrossing pact

June 23, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 10 a.m. June 23, 2010

Despite some grumbling from members, the City Council approved a pact Monday to help complete the Interstate 90 Undercrossing.

The city needed to secure right of way along 221st Place Southeast in order to complete paving and install a traffic signal where the road will meet Southeast 62nd Street. The council approved a development agreement with property owners Doug and Linda Ebi for the right of way.

The council initially discussed the agreement June 7, but sent the proposal to the Council Land & Shore Committee and the city River & Streams Board for additional scrutiny after residents and council members raised environmental concerns about the pact.

Issaquah resident Connie Marsh spoke against the proposal at both council meetings. The citizen activist questioned how officials included residents in the process leading to the final agreement.

“I think that the chance of getting change in this situation was probably 2 percent, and I don’t think that’s a correct way to run the city,” she said Monday.

Councilwoman Maureen McCarry said future development agreements should not be fashioned in the same way.

“I think that this is something that if we hadn’t had a signed agreement in front of us, we might have asked to look at it more closely,” Councilman Tola Marts said.

Crews started construction on the initial piece of the undercrossing last month. Construction should wrap by early fall.

Plans call for the completed roadway to run from the traffic signal at the post office along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, form a T-shaped intersection at Southeast 62nd Street, continue along 221st Place Southeast and then end at Southeast 56th Street.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO Matt Bott urged the council to approve the agreement.

“Moving this forward sends a strong message to businesses that are looking to relocate here that our transportation planning has some certainty to it, and that there is a pattern of that,” he said.

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