Issaquah agrees to release Klahanie PAA by year’s end

April 29, 2014

By Peter Clark

Issaquah’s City Council decided to release the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area on April 21.

Faced with a draft interlocal agreement, which the Sammamish City Council approved during its April 15 meeting, Issaquah’s council gave unanimous support for the comprehensive deal.

In short, Issaquah would agree to release the Klahanie area by the end of 2014 in exchange for Sammamish’s support of Issaquah growth designations, as well as that city funding improvements to Issaquah-Fall City Road to the tune of $30 million.

“Issaquah would agree to release the PAA to allow Sammamish to take immediate steps to incorporate it into its comprehensive plan and proceed with potential annexation,” Councilman Tola Marts said, introducing the agreement to the full council.

The agreement made it through the April 15 council Land & Shore Committee meeting with a recommendation for the whole council to approve it. Marts echoed that sentiment April 21.

“I am really thrilled to support this interlocal agreement,” he said. “This is the culmination of a lot of earnest effort throughout this region to help address the fate of Klahanie.”

After the Feb. 11 vote by Klahanie-area residents failed to earn more than 50 percent of the vote, the City Council briefly explored releasing only parts of the potential annexation area and exploring absorbing the southern portion in the future. After repeated public input to the contrary and a short session of talks between the two cities’ mayors, the draft agreement made its way to both councils.

“After all the annexation debates, analysis and hand wringing and nail biting, this was just what I was hoping for when the process began,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said.

He was the only council member to initially vote against the city seeking the annexation.

“Now, the torch passes to our political friends in Sammamish to make good and forthwith prepare their own annexation efforts,” Schaer said. “This is not the beginning and it’s not the end, but this is another point on the road to putting this entire matter behind us.”

The next step, as spelled out in the agreement, is a joint petition by Issaquah and Sammamish to the King County Growth Management Planning Council meeting May 21. The cities aim to show the county board regional support for the exchange of the potential annexation area.

“I’m very pleased with the speed with which this has progressed,” Issaquah City Council President Paul Winterstein said. “It always made me cringe a little bit when I’ve heard public officials in different forums talk about the competition between Issaquah and Sammamish. I’ve never felt that way.

“It’s really a message to all of our neighbors that this council proceeds deliberately and fairly, and I’m very glad to see that.”

Under the agreement, the city will move to amend its comprehensive plan to include the release of the Klahanie potential annexation area. The matter will come before the council in the coming months.

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