Issaquah re-examines Klahanie annexation

January 22, 2013

By Warren Kagarise

Last annexation attempt failed in 2005

The question of how a large-scale annexation on the Sammamish Plateau could affect residents in Issaquah, Klahanie and other unincorporated King County neighborhoods is under the microscope again, almost a decade after a citizen panel tackled the issue.

Issaquah leaders commissioned a $100,000 study and created a citizen task force to examine the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area — 10,800 people in about 3,900 households in the namesake neighborhood and adjacent communities.

The potential annexation area under consideration is in unincorporated King County, and bordered by Issaquah to the south, Sammamish to the north and west, and more unincorporated areas to the east.

Issaquah leaders appointed a citizen task force Jan. 7 to examine how a possible annexation could change Issaquah and Klahanie. The task force was assigned to work while a consultant updates a 9-year-old study on possible annexation.

What to know

The mayor-appointed Annexation Advisory Task Force to examine a change of status for the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area includes residents from Issaquah and the potential annexation area, plus a representative from rural fire districts.

Issaquah residents

  • Bernadette Anne (served on the 2004 annexation task force)
  • Al Erickson
  • Rowan Hinds
  • Mary Lou Pauly (served on the 2004 annexation task force)

Klahanie Potential Annexation Area residents

  • Barb Justice (served on the 2004 annexation task force)
  • Dick L’Heureux
  • Brent Marshall
  • Rob Young

King County fire districts 10 and 38

  • Don Smith

The 1,200-acre Klahanie Potential Annexation encompasses several neighborhoods between Issaquah and Sammamish.

  • Autumn Glen
  • Brookshire Crest
  • Brookshire East
  • Brookshire Estates
  • Glenwood
  • Hunter’s Glen
  • Hunter’s Ridge
  • Klahanie
  • Livingston
  • Rainbow Lake Ranch
  • Summer Meadows
  • Summer Pond
  • Triangle North
  • Triangle South

The task force must work to “answer any questions the potential annexation area residents might have, so if there’s a vote, they can vote appropriately,” said member Bernadette Anne, a resident of Overdale Park, a neighborhood annexed by Issaquah in February 2000.

The key questions for the task force — as well as for Issaquah leaders, and residents in the city and potential annexation area — revolve around whether Issaquah could provide adequate government services, such as police protection, to the area without a dramatic increase in cost.

“The question about annexation is, how sustainable is the potential annexation area?” Anne said.

The nine-member task force is not assigned to make a recommendation to the council about annexation. Rather, members must ensure the updated study answers questions from residents in Issaquah and the potential annexation area.

“It looks like a good mix of people with varying views in the annexation area, within the city limits itself and the expertise needed to evaluate the technical data and the data collection in those areas where we’ve experienced problems in the past,” Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler said before the council appointed the task force members in a unanimous decision.

The task force is scheduled to meet monthly through April.

The consultant behind the 2004 annexation study, Nesbitt Planning & Management, is at work on the update.

The earlier study concluded residents should receive better government services for a lower overall tax burden, said Mark Hinthorne, Issaquah special projects director.

The task force appointments and study update represent the latest action related to the potential annexation area after a bid to bring the community into Issaquah failed.

In November 2005, 67 percent voters in the potential annexation area approved a measure to join Issaquah, but only 47 percent of voters agreed to shoulder a portion of Issaquah’s debt. The lack of approval for the debt measure led council members to balk at the annexation.

Though the annexation failed, officials in Issaquah, King County and Sammamish continued to discuss future plans for the area.

Interest in the communities remained high in the years after the failed annexation attempt, as residents from the potential annexation area continued to lobby for Issaquah to include the neighborhoods in long-term growth plans, and the council later listed a refreshed annexation study as a goal for 2013.

Issaquah and Sammamish officials discussed redrawing the potential annexation area in late 2007, but the proposal withered in both cities.

Then, in late 2009, as Sammamish considered a proposal to acquire Klahanie Park and nearby Issaquah School District property, Issaquah and Sammamish officials reopened discussions about the potential annexation area.

King County considered closing Klahanie Park in 2009 to cut costs, but wary neighborhood residents considered the move by Sammamish as a prelude to annexation. Sammamish later dropped plans to acquire the park and nearby property.

Many residents in the potential annexation area feel a connection to Issaquah because the community falls inside the Issaquah School District and homes have Issaquah postal addresses.

“These people feel like a part of Issaquah, because they either moved up there a long time ago before Sammamish even existed, or it’s just that when they drive out of their subdivision, they turn left instead of right,” Anne said.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Issaquah re-examines Klahanie annexation”

  1. Smoley on January 24th, 2013 2:06 pm

    Let me ask a simple question…

    How does the annexation of Klahanie improve the quality of life for current Issaquah residents?

  2. Bob Robinson on January 25th, 2013 5:15 pm

    I bought one of the first homes in Klahanie in 1985 but since then I have moved to within the city limits of Sammamish. While we still lived in Klahanie we were polled to find out what our feelings about being annexed by the city of Issaquah. One of the misconceptions or unknowns was how would this annexation impact the homeowners association and its responsibilities. For example when the sidewalks in Klahanie needed repair it was my understanding the city of Issaquah indicated if Klahanie were to be annexed the association would be responsible for that cost and not the city of Issaquah for those repairs. In the original agreement paperwork that was submitted to us for review it indicated the members of Klahanie would inherit the city of Issaquah’s current and future debt. While city of Issaquah would not be responsible for any current debt Klahanie might have but it wasn’t fully clear what debt in the future Issaquah would be responsible for versus the association. Could you look into it further and provide a more detail breakdown of how Issaquah plans to handle this?

  3. Sally on January 28th, 2013 12:05 am

    Whenever Issaquah officials say someone will get more for less you have to wonder how? What I don’t understand is why these public employees think they have to continually annex land/towns/unincorporated areas surrounding Issaquah. Maybe certain developers want to further the blights and build their tall buildings and by annexing they will have control. I have visions of a man made ugly wind tunnel between the mountains. But whatever, I doubt Klahanie will get more for less. What will the original Issaquah get? A bigger headache?

  4. Jim Walker on February 6th, 2013 7:51 pm

    I have attended council meetings in both Issaquah and Sammamish. The Issaquah Council is really “of, by and for the people”. Sammamish tried to annex just the King County Park and Challenger Elementary in Klahanie previously with the intention of converting a flexible, accessible and low keyed community park into a gated, astro turfed, parking challenged, night lighted, loud speakered and aluminum bleachered annoyance in the middle of quiet Klahanie neighborhoods. Sammamish residents clearly did not want this in their neighborhoods, but did want additional soccer fields in Klahani back yards. Fortunately, this did not happen thanks to some activist residents. My hope is that Issaquah will annex Klahanie and we will finally have some proper representation.

  5. TKB on February 6th, 2013 11:55 pm

    Well if Issaquah gets a sales tax credit from the state wouldn’t that increase their debt? I mean the city of Issaquah would probably have to pay it back at some point from my understanding and how would they if they were short on revenue and the cost was greater in the first place? So in that case, it’s like sooner or later Issaquah is going to have to deal with the cost. The current Issaquah residents would have to help pay for this through taxes which I don’t think is fair. Someone should bring this up at a council meeting because this needs be addressed.

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