Issaquah, Sammamish councils support school district bond

February 28, 2012

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders agreed last week to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters April 17.

The measure is meant to generate dollars to rebuild Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools and Issaquah Middle School, modernize Liberty High School and relocate Tiger Mountain Community High School.

Issaquah City Council members held a public hearing about the bond Feb. 21 and then agreed to back the measure in a 5-0 decision. (Councilman Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber did not attend the meeting.)

Sammamish City Council members endorsed the measure Feb. 7.

“When companies are looking at relocating, they often look at the availability of excellent education,” Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said. “We have that here, and it’s incumbent on us to keep it that way if we want to protect what we have here.”

Issaquah School District officials also plan to use bond funds to improve districtwide heating and ventilation, space and security; and improve athletic fields and stadiums. (Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School sit inside Issaquah city limits.)

City Council approves dollars for affordable housing

February 28, 2012

Officials used $55,249 in city funds to build affordable housing in other King County cities, including a planned Kirkland shelter for homeless youths and a Bellevue shelter for homeless women.

City Council members approved the expenditure to A Regional Coalition for Housing — a joint group including King County and 15 Eastside cities — in a unanimous decision Feb. 6. Issaquah officials used leftover funds from Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 construction to fund affordable housing projects.

“This was one of those last-minute budget decisions that came out of our budget discussion at the end of last year,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “We decided ARCH was important.”

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City creates commission to attract, retain businesses

February 14, 2012

City leaders continued the latest push to bolster economic development Feb. 6 and created a municipal Economic Vitality Commission — another piece in the effort to attract entrepreneurs to Issaquah and retain existing businesses.

City Council members formed the commission to handle a marketing plan to attract businesses, consider opportunities to improve signage options for merchants, review municipal permitting and inspection processes, and produce annual report cards on strategies recommended in the 2005 Economic Vitality Plan. The commission is expected to offer regular updates to the mayor and council.

The idea for a commission stems from a goal council members set at a May 2011 retreat to outline priorities for 2012.

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City Council sets rules for medical marijuana gardens

December 13, 2011

In a decision meant to balance concerns about patients’ rights and public safety, City Council members set rules Dec. 5 for medical marijuana collective gardens to limit such operations near schools, parks and other collective gardens.

City planners spent months collecting input from medical marijuana patients, law enforcement officers, elected leaders and residents to craft the ordinance. The result is a milestone in the effort to clarify jumbled rules for medical marijuana and untangle different local, state and federal rules for the drug.

The measure requires a 1,000-foot buffer between a collective garden and a community center, school or another collective garden. The ordinance also set a 500-foot buffer between a collective garden and park, preschool or daycare center.

The ordinance also established a limit of a single collective garden per site.

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Press Editorial

December 13, 2011

Kudos for medical marijuana rules

Bravo to the City Council, Planning Department, and medical marijuana advocates and patients for crafting a sensible solution to the debate about collective gardens in the city.

The ordinance adopted Dec. 5 reflects compassion and understanding on the part of city leaders. Moreover, the legislation adds commonsense regulations to collective gardens. Limiting the operations near schools, daycare centers and other public spaces is smart.

The decision is also a courageous act. Even as other Washington cities and the federal government fail to recognize marijuana’s medical merits, local leaders made a reaffirming stand for patients’ rights. In Washington, medical marijuana patients suffer from the most debilitating and painful conditions — AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and more.

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City Council sets rules for Issaquah medical marijuana gardens

December 7, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 7, 2011

In a decision meant to balance concerns about patients’ rights and public safety, City Council members set rules Monday for medical marijuana collective gardens to limit such operations near schools, parks and other collective gardens.

City planners spent months collecting input from medical marijuana patients, law enforcement officers, elected leaders and residents to craft the ordinance. The result is a milestone in the effort to clarify jumbled rules for medical marijuana and untangle different local, state and federal rules for the drug.

The measure requires a 1,000-foot buffer between a collective garden and a community center, school or another collective garden. The ordinance also set a 500-foot buffer between a collective garden and park, preschool or daycare center.

The ordinance also established a limit of a single collective garden per site.

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City Council selects CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is Seattle-based CleanScapes, City Council members decided Monday.

In a unanimous decision, council members selected the garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes.

For a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup, rates could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — though a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop in rates.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

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Issaquah City Council sets goals for 2012

June 21, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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Issaquah City Council sets ambitious goals for 2012

June 14, 2011

Top priorities include downtown parking, Economic Vitality Commission

NEW — 8 a.m. June 14, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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City Council sells highlands land to Bellevue homebuilder

May 24, 2011

City Council members agreed May 16 to sell Issaquah Highlands land — a scrap measuring 16,000 square feet — to a homebuilder and set aside dollars from the sale to improve municipal parks.

The city stands to receive $191,496 for the parcel near the planned 15th Avenue Northeast extension and Northeast College Drive construction.

Bellevue-based developer Polygon Northwest is building the Forest Ridge at Issaquah Highlands neighborhood near the site and intends to add the parcel to the community.

The homebuilder could create three lots for single-family detached homes on the site.

“As a new member to the Issaquah Highlands community, we want to do what’s in the best interest of the community, and we feel that this fits that goal,” Ben Rutkowski, development project manager for Polygon Northwest, told council members.

The council agreed in a unanimous decision to sell the land, but members raised questions about how to use dollars from the sale, as well as road access to possible homes on the site.

Keith Niven, city Major Development Review Team program manager, said the city created the site after carving up a larger parcel.

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