City Council sells Issaquah Highlands land to homebuilder

May 18, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. May 18, 2011

City Council members agreed Monday 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. The land measures 16,000 square feet, or about the size of a typical Bartell Drugs.

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.

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Major renovation for aging Julius Boehm Pool is a priority

May 17, 2011

The long-discussed plan to redo the outdated Julius Boehm Pool inched ahead May 14, as City Council members listed priorities for 2012 — a key step in determining how leaders decide to spend next year.

In addition to confronting increased maintenance costs as the pool ages, a 2009 city-commissioned study declared the facility as inadequate for the community.

“We’ve gone to tactical mode,” Council President John Traeger said. “We’ve got to fix the pool.”

The pool emerged as a major focus early in the session, as council members and department chiefs gathered in a map-lined Public Works Operations Building conference room. Other priorities included downtown parking, economic development and Lake Sammamish State Park.

The price tag to expand and upgrade the downtown Boehm Pool in a major renovation is estimated at $21 million. Other options could cost less.

The popular pool no longer meets demand for high school and club swim teams, recreational swimmers and children’s swimming lessons due to its age and other factors. Still, passing a municipal bond to salvage the facility might be a tough sell.

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City confronts slippery situation: grease-clogged pipes

May 17, 2011

Council creates regulations to limit damage to sewer system

In a maneuver more common to cardiologists than City Council members, the city enacted a step May 2 to unclog the pipes looping beneath streets, like arteries inside the human body.

The council approved a measure to create regulations for grease and other oily discharges from businesses. Supporters said cutting out the fat could lead to reduced maintenance costs from clogged and damaged pipes in the long term.

“It definitely is going to benefit the city,” Councilwoman Eileen Barber said before the unanimous decision. “As we all know, a lot of these fats and greases that go into our sewer actually create some kind of bacteria that eat our pipes. So, it is definitely beneficial for all of us, as citizens, to begin to save that.”

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Julius Boehm Pool upgrade is City Council priority

May 14, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. May 14, 2011

The long-discussed plan to redo outdated Julius Boehm Pool inched ahead Saturday, as City Council members listed priorities for 2012 — a key step in determining how leaders decide to spend next year.

In addition to confronting increased maintenance costs as Boehm Pool ages, a 2009 city-commissioned study declared the facility as inadequate for the community.

“We’ve gone to tactical mode,” Council President John Traeger said. “We’ve got to fix the pool.”

The pool emerged as a major focus early in the session, as council members and department chiefs gathered in a map-lined Public Works Operations Building conference room. Other priorities included downtown parking, economic development and Lake Sammamish State Park.

The price tag to expand and upgrade downtown Boehm Pool in a major renovation is estimated at $21 million.

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City Council confirms, lauds municipal board appointees

May 3, 2011

Onetime City Council finalist Paul Winterstein is going to continue serving the city on the Human Services Commission, the liaison between social service groups and municipal government.

The council appointed Winterstein and 35 other people as members and alternates to city boards and commissions April 18. Terms on the 11 affected boards start May 1. The city does not pay members.

“I am continually amazed at the number of people — and their qualifications — that stepped forward to fill our boards and commissions,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the unanimous decision to appoint the members. “It seems to me in going through the applications and the qualifications of folks, we’ve got an especially strong group of people filling some critical holes on our boards and commissions again this year.”

The city put out a call for board and commission applicants in January. Then, Mayor Ava Frisinger and board officers narrowed the applicant pool, and recommended appointees to the council for approval.

The city is continuing the interview process for alternates to serve on the Sister Cities and Urban Village Development commissions.

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Landslide poses risk to Squak Mountain neighborhood’s utilities

April 26, 2011

City Council OKs study to find possible solutions

A car drives past the landslide on Mountainside Drive Southwest during the morning commute April 25. By Greg Farrar

The city has agreed to spend $30,000 to gather data on a landslide creeping down a Squak Mountain hillside and threatening utilities leading to the Forest Rim neighborhood.

The landslide poses a risk to the only utility lines and road to the hilltop neighborhood of about 100 homes. Forest Rim is the highest-elevation neighborhood on the mountain.

“The earth essentially just decided it was time,” Sheldon Lynne, city deputy public works engineering director, told City Council members April 18. “It couldn’t hold itself up any longer.”

The landslide is inching down Squak Mountain near a switchback along Mountainside Drive Southwest, less than a mile downhill from Forest Rim. The section of displaced hillside is about 200 feet across and stretches about 100 feet from end to eroded end.

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Landslide poses risk to Squak Mountain neighborhood’s utilities

April 22, 2011

NEW — 7 p.m. April 22, 2011

The city has agreed to spend $30,000 to gather data on a landslide creeping down a Squak Mountain hillside and threatening utilities leading to the Forest Rim neighborhood.

The landslide poses a risk to the only utility lines and road to the hilltop neighborhood of about 100 homes. Forest Rim is the highest-elevation neighborhood on the mountain.

“The earth essentially just decided it was time,” Sheldon Lynne, city deputy public works engineering director, told City Council members Monday. “It couldn’t hold itself up any longer.”

The landslide is inching down Squak Mountain near a switchback along Mountainside Drive Southwest, less than a mile downhill from Forest Rim. The section of displaced hillside is about 200 feet across and stretches about 100 feet from end to eroded end.

Only a road shoulder is closed so far, and the roadway remains open to traffic. The landslide also eroded soil from beneath guardrail posts along the street.

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Council sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in Park Pointe deal

March 22, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 22, 2011

The city is on the verge of preserving more than 100 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and in the Issaquah Highlands due to a series of agreements the City Council adopted Monday night.

In a landmark decision, the council agreed to accept ownership of the long-disputed Park Pointe property — 102 acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The other agreements, described as housekeeping items by city leaders, cleared up access and boundary issues related to the highlands land.

Now, after years of negotiations, the complicated transfer of development rights to preserve Park Pointe and add more density to the highlands is almost complete. Read more

Decision to appoint Stacy Goodman splits City Council

March 15, 2011

Issaquah City Council members voting for Stacy Goodman on March 7 are (left) Mark Mullet, and (middle, from left) Joshua Schaer, Eileen Barber and Fred Butler. Tola Marts (second left) and John Traeger (right) voted for Paul Winterstein. By Greg Farrar

In the end, after 20 tense minutes, the City Council elevated Stacy Goodman to a seat left empty after Maureen McCarry resigned last December.

The usually consensus-driven council listened to applicants for a vacant seat for 90 minutes March 1, but needed a couple of rounds of balloting — plus some political maneuvering — March 7 to appoint a successor to McCarry.

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City Council vacancy attracts nine applicants

February 8, 2011

The contenders in the running to succeed Maureen McCarry on the City Council include people familiar to city leaders.

Joe Forkner has served on the council before, including a stint as a caretaker member after a councilwoman resigned. Stacy Goodman, past editor of The Issaquah Press, used to cover City Hall as a reporter. Nathan Perea campaigned against Tola Marts for the open Position 7 seat in 2009. Paul Winterstein managed Marts’ successful campaign. Other applicants serve on municipal boards and commissions.

The rare midterm opening for the Position 5 seat attracted nine candidates.

In addition to Forkner, Goodman, Perea and Winterstein, the lineup includes Michael Beard, a district manager for a facilities maintenance company, attorney Cristina Mehling, Urban Village Development Commission member Nina Milligan, Boeing analyst Erik Olson and Development Commission member Mary Lou Pauly.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for March 1. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

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