City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

April 3, 2012

Step is latest in big City Hall reshuffle

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase March 27, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process to apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

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City Council delays decision on Issaquah plastic bag ban

April 2, 2012

NEW — 9:03 p.m. April 2, 2012

The decision to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses is on hold, City Council members decided Monday after a contentious discussion and appeals from environmentalists concerned about Puget Sound pollution and plastics manufacturers anxious about lost livelihoods.

The proposed plastic bag ban at local retailers is meant to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce marine pollution.

The measure stalled after speakers questioned the proposal’s scope and timing. The council opted in a 6-1 decision to postpone further discussions on the plastic bag ban to a still-unscheduled meeting.

The plastic bag ban proponent, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and Councilman Mark Mullet, said the legislation offers Issaquah a chance to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

March 28, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. March 28, 2012

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase Tuesday, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

Bob Harrison

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

City Administrator Bob Harrison said frequent questions from permit applicants influenced the project.

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City, Cascade Water Alliance mail toilet leak detection kits

March 13, 2012

National Fix A Leak Week runs until March 18 and to mark the occasion the Cascade Water Alliance and Issaquah municipal government mailed toilet leak detection kits to homes in Issaquah and elsewhere.

The average home can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to running toilets, dripping faucets and other household leaks. The results: wasted water and pricier water bills.

“According to the U.S. EPA, household leaks from toilets, faucets and showerheads waste 1 trillion gallons of water each year nationwide,” said Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler, a Cascade Water Alliance Board member. “This drives up utility operating costs and places unnecessary strain on water and wastewater infrastructure. Finding and fixing leaking toilets is a great way to conserve our valuable water resources.”

Mailers should start to reach almost 100,000 homes throughout the Eastside and South King County in the days ahead. The kits include dye strips and simple instructions to check toilets for leaks.

The regional alliance includes the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, Issaquah and Bellevue, plus other Eastside and South King County cities and water districts.

Stop toilet leaks — and conserve water — during Fix a Leak Week

March 8, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. March 8, 2012

National Fix A Leak Week starts Monday and to mark the occasion, Cascade Water Alliance and Issaquah municipal government mailed toilet leak detection kits to homes in Issaquah and elsewhere.

The average home can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to running toilets, dripping faucets and other household leaks. The results: wasted water and pricier water bills.

“According to the U.S. EPA, household leaks from toilets, faucets and showerheads waste 1 trillion gallons of water each year nationwide,” said Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler, a Cascade Water Alliance Board member. “This drives up utility operating costs and places unnecessary strain on water and wastewater infrastructure. Finding and fixing leaking toilets is a great way to conserve our valuable water resources.”

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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Councilman Fred Butler joins Cascade Water Alliance board

March 6, 2012

Fred Butler

Cascade Water Alliance leaders chose longtime Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler as a board member on the regional group Feb. 22.

The organization also elected Redmond Mayor John Marchione as chairman, Covington Water District Commissioner David Knight as vice chairman and Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton as secretary-treasurer.

Issaquah Councilwoman Stacy Goodman serves as the city’s alternate representative to the board.

The regional Cascade Water Alliance includes the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, Issaquah and Bellevue, plus other Eastside and South King County cities and water districts. The agency serves about 400,000 residents and 22,000 businesses.

The members own, operate and maintain individual water distribution systems. The alliance operates the Bellevue-Issaquah Pipeline, a 24-inch transmission line in operation since 2006.

Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 5, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

“You’d clear a road, you’d come back down and you’d have to clear your way back out the same road,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said in a Feb. 28 briefing to the City Council. “Or you’d clear a road and you’d get a call from somebody else in the snowplow that said, ‘I thought you cleared this road.’ The answer is, well, we did. We were just there, but those trees were coming down so fast and frequent that it was impossible for awhile to stay on top of that.”

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Issaquah Women’s Club luncheon supports scholarships, local charities

February 28, 2012

At a recent meeting of the Issaquah Women’s Club, a speaker from the Eastside Domestic Violence Program expounded upon how the 60 or so scholarships supplied to that group over the years by the club had changed lives.

The scholarships were intended to help clients of the program get back on their feet, to help them get out of abusive situations. Past president and current promotions director for the Women’s Club Deborah Bader said she and other group members especially enjoyed hearing personal stories about how their efforts had helped other women.

“It was just really special,” Bader added.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway seeks federal recognition

February 21, 2012

The greenway, shown above, runs parallel to Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront, through Issaquah and across the Cascades. The greenbelt encompasses 1.5 million acres in conservation lands, recreation areas, farms, working forests and cities. By Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Greg Farrar

National Heritage Area is meant to highlight environment, history

The 100-mile-long Mountains to Sound Greenway — greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront and across the Cascades — is often heralded as a national model for conservation and land use.

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