Boundary Review Board OKs Klahanie annexation vote

October 15, 2013

By Peter Clark

In quick order, the King County Boundary Review Board unanimously gave preliminary approval Oct. 10 to Issaquah’s annexation request for the Klahanie area.

Two long meetings were held last month where government representatives from Issaquah and Sammamish were joined by a slew of public opinion on the proposed annexation. The Boundary Review Board took the information given and returned with a decision for Klahanie voters to vote on whether Issaquah should include them in its borders.

“None of these are easy,” board member Robert Cook said as the board held informal discussion before a vote. “And a couple factors gave us some sleepless nights. The overriding fact is that the city of Issaquah is responding to a petition of residents that want to be a part of the city. They did what they were asked to do by the citizenry. They did what they are mandated to do by state law. There really aren’t any losers in this, because the citizens will vote on this and determine their own fate. It’s kind of a win-win.”

Klahanie, a triangular wedge of unincorporated King County, borders Sammamish on two sides and Issaquah on the third. State law assumes that at some point one city or the other will absorb the area, home to more than 10,000 people.

Only Issaquah has the right to, but Sammamish also wants it. Issaquah is in the midst of attempting to annex Klahanie, and the decision by the Boundary Review Board is a step in the process.

The “factors” that might have led to sleepless nights for the board members included opposition from the city of Sammamish and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

During the public hearing last month, Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell made the case that potential annexation areas, mandated by the Growth Management Act, were drawn before the consolidation of his city. He asked for a reconsideration of the boundaries to include the Klahanie area within Sammamish’s potential annexation area. The Boundary Review Board was sympathetic to the view, but did not have the power to act on it.

“We had a number of requests to reassign this potential annexation area to the city of Sammamish,” board Chairwoman Mary Lynne Evans said. “We are not authorized to change the potential annexation status. The Growth Management Planning Council is the body to address this.”

Other concerns raised in the public hearing revolved around Sammamish warning there could be reduced fire protection should annexation occur, and the Water and Sewer District cautioning that Issaquah did not provide correct facts about utility service in light of its exploration to assume district wells.

Board member Sylvia Bushnell said assumptions should be expected under the Growth Management Act and chastised the district for drawing undeserved attention.

“The water district issue also bothered me,” Bushnell said. “I felt it was a red herring thrown out there. It’s appropriate for Issaquah to contemplate controlling its water resources.”

As for fire service, Evans had sharp words for Sammamish in regard to Eastside Fire & Rescue complaints about being used as “a pawn.” Sammamish is considering withdrawing from the regional EFR consortium. Should the Klahanie area go to Issaquah and it leave EFR, Sammamish has said it will likely close nearby Fire Station 83, which provides most of the fire and EMS services to the area.

“I looked very carefully at the fire district,” Evans said. “Firefighters did not want Fire Station 83 to ‘become a pawn’ in this discussion. And I totally agree. I think it’s reprehensible to make those services a pawn in this consideration.”

There is a 30-day window for appeals to be lodged against the board’s decision. Should its approval stand, a vote of Klahanie citizens will most likely occur in a February 2014 special election.

“If they don’t wish to join, the vote will tell that,” Evans said of Klahanie area residents. “I think the vote is the most important thing. I think the vote is the right thing to do.”


Get involved

SKlahanie area pre-annexation zoning has already made it’s way through two public hearings. The City Council is expected to vote on a final version during its Oct. 21 regular meeting. That meeting’s public comment portion will be the final chance for citizens to offer any opinion as the council moves forward with the proposed zoning. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way.

Bookmark and Share
Other Stories of Interest: , , , , , , , , , ,


2 Responses to “Boundary Review Board OKs Klahanie annexation vote”

  1. Smoley on October 15th, 2013 8:49 pm

    I question whether the annexation of Klahanie is in the best interests of Issaquah and think that it’s unfortunate that Issaquah citizens don’t also get to vote on the annexation decision.

    Not everyone in this town supports the city council’s “bigger is better” mindset. We have problems with growth and unbridled development in our area and getting Klahanie residents to assume a portion of Issaquah’s debt so that Issaquah can continue to borrow money to expand isn’t a sustainable way to run a city.

  2. Question Mark on October 20th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Although registered voters in Issaquah will not vote in an upcoming Klahanie annexation vote when it occurs, recall that the city of Issaquah held public hearings on the matter as they contemplated it, and that many public comments were heard. As a result, city administration, the Land & Shore Committee, and eventually the city council (by a vote of 6 to 1) agreed that annexation of Klahanie should proceed to a vote of its residents. City elected representatives, who by the way no one in Klahanie had an opportunity to vote for, made the decision in this case they were elected by citizens of Issaquah to make.

Got something to say?

Before you comment, please note:

  • These comments are moderated.
  • Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and contribute to its discussion.
  • Personal attacks and/or excessive profanity will not be tolerated and such comments will not be approved.
  • This is not your personal chat room or forum, so please stay on topic.