Klahanie future remains unclear as county certifies election

March 4, 2014

Klahanie-area residents have spoken — and 32 of them may make all the difference.

The final results of the Feb. 11 election are in. With 49 percent of registered voters casting a ballot, only 49.47 percent, or 1,504, voted for an Issaquah annexation. While 50.53 percent, or 1,536, voted against the measure.

Even with the narrow number of votes separating the sides, it is outside the 0.25 percent margin that would trigger an automatic recount. Though one side or the other could pay for one, no one has suggested they are willing to do so.

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Seven potential sites eyed for new skate park

March 4, 2014

It looks like the future of skateboarding in Issaquah has plenty of options.

Parks & Recreations Department officials unveiled seven possible locations to build a new skate park Feb. 26. In a public meeting at Tibbetts Creek Manor, more than 30 locals, including parents, skaters and police, attended to hear the city’s plans and weigh in with opinions.

The current skate park borders the woods along the Rainier Trail, neighboring the community center. Last year, in the face of a public outcry around crime-related activities occurring there, the City Council budgeted $350,000 for the demolition and construction of a skate park in a new location.

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Voters approve plastic bag ban

March 4, 2014

Voters decided to keep plastic bags out of Issaquah.

King County certified the final results of the Feb. 11 election on Feb. 25 and Proposition 1’s aim to overturn the city’s ban on plastic bags failed. With 39.32 percent of registered voters submitting a ballot, only 47.58 percent, or 3,595 people, voted to get rid of the ban, while 52.32 percent, or 3,945, approved of keeping it.

The ban took effect March 1, 2013, and even before its enforcement, volunteer organization Save Our Choice worked to collect signatures against it. After securing enough signatures in October, the Issaquah City Council decided to send it to the voters and let them decide whether it should stand.

“I think this was an interrupting process that showed representative democracy actually works,” 5th District Sen. Mark Mullet said. “This just kind of validated the bag ban.”

Mullet spearheaded the ordinance when he served on the Issaquah City Council in 2012. He said the board held six public input meetings before approving the ban, and he believed the vote allowed an opportunity to support the council’s action.

“You don’t get to see that often,” he said. “You can say, ‘Oh, the council voted against the public,’ but it played out.”

Save Our Choice co-founder Craig Keller lamented the low turnout of the election.

“The burden of restoring retail harmony to Issaquah now drops squarely back upon the council who created this mess.” Keller said, warning about the impact on the future extension of the law and the recent vote against an Issaquah annexation of the Klahanie area. “A little more pain inflicted on shoppers, checkers and small merchants may be required before the council swallows its pride. It must not have escaped their wonder whether their ‘nanny knows best’ approach influenced a souring of Klahanie residents against annexation.”

Keller, a West Seattle resident, invited citizens and business owners to mount another petition immediately and said Save Our Choice would assist.

The City Council decided to stagger implementation of the ordinance, so it currently only affects larger stores. It will impact every business beginning July 1.

Editorial

March 4, 2014

It’s time to let Klahanie go

Issaquah made the best offer it could to Klahanie, but most residents in the area are no longer interested in being part of that city. It’s time to let them go.

It had always been assumed that Klahanie would eventually become part of Issaquah. Indeed, the southern half of what is now Sammamish was at one envisioned as part of Issaquah.

Sammamish, of course, went its own way and formed its own city. In 2005, when Issaquah last attempted to annex Klahanie, Sammamish was fairly new — it didn’t even have a proper city hall yet.

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Picture this

February 21, 2014

Issaquah sets its sights on adding the French town of Savigny-le-Temple to its family of sister cities.

The city of Issaquah is expecting.

Like most new parents, city officials have a special glow in anticipation of the new arrival. Members of the City Council and Sister Cities Commission are anxiously waiting for a written proposal from the town of Savigny-le-Temple in France to establish a Sister City relationship.

Contributed Minister Mohamed Saad El Alami, mayor of Chefchaouen (center), and former Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger (right) walk through the Moroccan city’s streets with other delegation members and a security detail in 2007.

Contributed
Minister Mohamed Saad El Alami, mayor of Chefchaouen (center), and former Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger (right) walk through the Moroccan city’s streets with other delegation members and a security detail in 2007.

The transatlantic courtship began last fall, when a delegation of students from the French town came to Issaquah during Salmon Days and were so impressed they requested their city reach out to establish an official relationship. Leaders from the community 20 miles southeast of Paris have made plans to send another contingent of young people to the Northwest this summer.

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The green necklace: a gift to the city and the environment

February 21, 2014

More and more, people within the city are talking about the planned “green necklace.” It isn’t a gift of jewelry to citizens, but many see it as a gift to residents nonetheless.

The green necklace refers to a circle of parks and open spaces around the city, allowing easy pedestrian and bicycle access. It includes Lake Sammamish and the Issaquah Alps in the goal to surround the city and provide interconnected pathways between open spaces.

By Peter Clark Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

By Peter Clark
Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

Though the idea has existed for decades, the Issaquah City Council expressly outlined a plan to create the network of open space in the Central Issaquah Plan, approved in December 2012.

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Issaquah reimagined

February 21, 2014

How will the central district look in 30 years?

Since before the City Council passed the Central Issaquah Plan in late 2012, citizens have been wondering what the city will look like in 30 years.

“You’re standing in a great pedestrian area,” Issaquah Long Range Planner Trish Heinonen said, describing the average block according to the plan. “It will be very busy with walking people and people having lunch. And wherever you are standing, you can probably see a way to get to the green necklace.”

By Greg Farrar A 2002 aerial view shows Issaquah’s central district then. Now, city leaders are envisioning in the Central Issaquah Plan what the area would look like in 30 years.

By Greg Farrar
A 2002 aerial view shows Issaquah’s central district then. Now, city leaders are envisioning in the Central Issaquah Plan what the area would look like in 30 years.

As a vision for how to cultivate a dense, urban space within the central area and redevelop the flat lots into sustainable, walkable parcels, the Central Issaquah Plan has remained vague beyond the expressed desire to create a vivid environment with a “green necklace” of parks and open spaces around the city and an interlaced connection of walkways and bike paths to reach them.

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Marijuana moratorium receives four-month extension

February 20, 2014

NEW – 6 a.m. Feb. 20, 2014

Recreational marijuana businesses will have to wait until at least July to legally operate in Issaquah.

During its Feb. 18 regular meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to extend the current six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses by four months. Instead of expiring March 3, the prohibition will last until July 7.

“The original agenda bill had the extension for two months and after meeting with city staff, we asked for it be extended to four,” said Councilman Tola Marts, also the chairman of the Land and Shore Committee, which recommended the extension to the full council. “Some municipalities are looking to extend the clock as much as they can. I don’t think that’s the purpose here.”

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Voters, so far: Bag ban stands, Klahanie stays unincorporated

February 18, 2014

Eleven thousand people might still be searching for a home.

King County Elections released preliminary numbers for the Klahanie-area annexation vote Feb. 11 and the numbers stand close on whether to join Issaquah.

At the end of the first week of vote counting, 1,490, or 49.4 percent, of the residents in the area voted in favor of the annexation and to take on the encumbered debt of Issaquah, while 1,524, or 50.6 percent voted against it.

Although the measure needs 60 percent to pass with the new residents sharing the city’s indebtedness, the City Council can still choose to annex the area if the vote receives a simple majority. Under that scenario, the Klahanie area would not assume its share of the city’s current indebtedness.

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City seeks input on new skate park

February 18, 2014

The Issaquah City Council allocated $350,000 to replace the aging Issaquah Skate Park, and now, the city is seeking public input about possible locations.

The project consists of three phases: site location, design and construction. Before city officials move forward, they want to find a new, more visible setting for the skate park.

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