Issaquah, Sammamish councils face planning issues at meeting

March 8, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders meet March 10 at Tibbetts Creek Manor. The agenda includes dinner — and a packed docket of regional issues.

Members from the Issaquah and Sammamish city councils, plus Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger, plan to discuss long-term planning efforts in both cities — the push to create a Town Center in Sammamish and the decadeslong goal to reshape the Issaquah business district — and other issues.

The annual meeting offers a chance for leaders to confer about issues face to face. The confab helps to cut out the chatter from municipal staffers and residents.

“One way to do that is to once a year to get together and talk about what is important to each city,” Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet said.

In recent years, talks focused on shared transportation concerns, Eastside Fire & Rescue operations and, in the meeting last year, nascent discussions about a regional fire authority and changes to King County animal control.

Officials from both cities also said the meeting could result in ideas for long-term planning efforts in Issaquah and Sammamish.

Sprawling Sammamish is in the midst of a yearslong effort to create a Town Center. Issaquah embarked on a plan last year to guide redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.

“We can learn from each other,” Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler said. “The more they understand what we’re doing, and the more that we understand what they’re doing, the better job that we can do regionally and with our neighbors to make this a region and an area that we’re both happy with.”

The councils also plan to discuss aquatic centers at the March 10 gathering. Issaquah officials often face questions about the aging Julius Boehm Pool and Sammamish is considering a community aquatic center.

Sammamish Mayor Don Gerend said the council plans to at least broach the subject of a potential partnership with Issaquah, though he admitted a partnership could be a tough sell because Issaquah already has a municipal pool.

Finding the ideal location that could be easily accessed by citizens of both cities could also pose a challenge, though Gerend said the Issaquah Highlands could work.

“We’ll bring it up, but we didn’t get very far talking about it with Redmond,” he said.

Sammamish made similar overtures to the Redmond City Council last year — including the idea of a metropolitan parks district in the area to raise tax revenue for a facility — and received a lukewarm reception.

Issaquah and Sammamish council members met last March at Sammamish City Hall. The meeting shifts from Issaquah to Sammamish from year to year.

“I think the relationship is very good,” Issaquah Councilman Joshua Schaer said. “We see each other at regional activities all the time. We talk about issues of common interest, of which there are many. I think all of us have a pretty good relationship with the folks in Sammamish, and I’d have to venture that they feel the same way.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Reporter Caleb Heeringa contributed to this report. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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Issaquah-Sammamish joint city councils meeting

  • 6:30 p.m. March 10
  • Tibbetts Creek Manor
  • 750 17th Ave. N.W.
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