Council to explore releasing Klahanie
April 1, 2014
By Peter Clark
The Issaquah City Council wants to take a step back from a piecemeal Klahanie-area annexation.
The council directed the administration March 10 to craft a brief view of editing Issaquah’s potential annexation area to only include the southern areas of the Klahanie region, reflecting districts that voted the highest to join Issaquah in the Feb. 11 election. During the March 25 Committee of the Whole meeting, city Long Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen presented the findings.
“This boundary would have a lesser impact on our responsibility,” she said. “It would be just like a new subdivision.”
Heinonen said the area would include 530 homes, about 1,500 people and 5.36 road miles.
Council discussions previously revolved around the possibility of releasing the majority of the city’s potential annexation area and retaining those southern districts. In order to do so, the council would need to update its Comprehensive Plan, which it plans to do by June 2015. The council is expected to decide on the docket of proposed updates to the plan during its April 7 regular meeting.
However, after the administration’s presentation, council deliberation expressed a wish to see broader options for the region.
“It seems to me like we could fine-tune these details, but my own assessment is that we really wouldn’t alter this preliminary study,” City Council President Paul Winterstein said of Heinonen’s presentation. “However, I think that what’s been missing so far is we don’t have any information about other ways that Issaquah and our neighbors could benefit from a different course of action.”
He said the council was looking at the issue from a 1,000-foot level and wanted to look at it from 10,000 feet instead.
“What would happen if we gave up the entire potential annexation area?” Winterstein asked rhetorically.
The city of Sammamish has publicly shown interest in annexing the area and committed to solving transportation problems along surrounding roadways. Winterstein said Issaquah’s council should explore how that would affect everyone involved.
“I’d like to set aside the question of annexation of just the southern portion,” he said. “If a better Issaquah-Fall City Road contributes to a better Sammamish, then that means a better Issaquah.”
The other council members agreed. While they said city staff gave all of the information the council asked to receive, they concurred the matter seemed to required many more details.
“I think we don’t have near enough information to make a decision,” Councilwoman Stacy Goodman said. “And I also support Paul’s comments about raising ourselves up higher and taking a broader look.”
To sum up the council’s wishes, Winterstein called for discussions to begin between the neighboring cities.
“I’d like for our mayor to immediately start friendly talks with the Sammamish mayor to explore ways we can all benefit about Issaquah giving up the entire potential annexation area,” he said.
He asked for the council to be updated about those talks soon and said he expected the council to discuss the matter again during its April 7 regular meeting.