Council OKs large list of possible comprehensive plan updates

April 15, 2014

The Issaquah City Council expects a big update to the city’s comprehensive plan in 2015.

During its April 7 regular meeting, the council approved docket of proposed changes to the plan. There are 19 items, which the administration will investigate whether to include them into the state-mandated plan.

Comprehensive plans are required by state law to include expectations for land use, housing, growth targets, utilities, capital facilities and more.

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City Council considers offering annexation to parts of Klahanie PAA

March 18, 2014

Issaquah might still offer annexation to parts of the Klahanie area — and that might take another year.

In the March 10 City Council work session and the March 11 Land and Shore Committee meeting, exploring next steps for the Klahanie potential annexation area took center stage. King County Elections certified the Feb. 11 special election results Feb. 25, in which residents in that area voted whether to join the city of Issaquah. Needing 60 percent to pass and for those residents to assume the city’s bonded indebtedness, the vote earned 49.47 percent in favor of joining Issaquah.

Council President Paul Winterstein identified five options available to the council for consideration in light of the certified vote.

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Issaquah resident to run against Jay Rodne

March 11, 2014

Issaquah resident Essie Hicks plans to take on incumbent 5th District Rep. Jay Rodne in this year’s Nov. 4 election.

Hicks, a Democrat, announced her candidacy Feb. 18. Rodne, a Republican, has held the seat since 2004.

HicksEssie5thVote 20140300 copy

Essie Hicks

“I believe my experience as a business owner, my long history in service to my community, and as the mother of five boys, I am ready to represent all residents of the 5th District,” Hicks said. “In Olympia, I will work every day to provide all our kids with a quality and fully funded education, deliver real transportation solutions that work for our region, and protect and preserve the natural resources that make our state so unique.”

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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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Committee recommends marijuana moratorium remain until July

February 18, 2014

Issaquah’s moratorium on recreational marijuana might last until July.

At its Feb. 11 meeting, the City Council’s Land and Shore Committee discussed the timeline to gauge the city’s needs in terms of tailoring recreational marijuana regulations. The committee members agreed to recommend the council extend the current moratorium, which expires next month, by four months.

The ongoing state legislative session has raised a lot of questions about the future of recreational marijuana businesses, and the council has expressed caution while definitive state regulations remain in flux.

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Issaquah City Councilman Tola Marts is named Elected Official of the Week

February 11, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 11, 2014

The Sound Cities Association named Issaquah City Councilman Tola Marts the Elected Official of the Week.

The decision was announced Feb. 10 in a press release from the organization, which represents 36 cities in King County. It credited Marts’ leadership, vision and commitment to making a difference in people’s lives, locally and around the world.

Tola Marts

Tola Marts

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Senate bill takes aim at potential annexation tax credit

February 4, 2014

Annexing Klahanie would be much less palatable for Issaquah if a bill introduced by state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45) is approved.

Hill, who represents the northern half of Sammamish, introduced a bill Jan. 29, which would mean a drastic reduction to Issaquah’s expected revenue from an annexation.

Councilman Don Gerend said the Sammamish City Council did have a hand in bringing the bill to the Senate, and to Hill, chairman of the Senate’s budget-writing committee.

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New mayor, council members sworn into office

January 16, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2014

Issaquah Municipal Court Judge Scott Stewart swore in Issaquah’s new mayor and four new City Council members Jan. 6.

During the first regular City Council meeting of 2014, Stewart offered congratulations to the line of those he led into office.

Mayor Fred Butler and councilmembers Eileen Barber, Stacy Goodman, Tola Marts and Mary Lou Pauly all took the oath of office.

By Greg Farrar Fred Butler (left) thanks Issaquah Municipal Court Judge N. Scott Stewart with a handshake after being ceremonially sworn in at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting as the new mayor.

By Greg Farrar
Fred Butler (left) thanks Issaquah Municipal Court Judge N. Scott Stewart with a handshake after being sworn in at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting as the new mayor.

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Additional police officer, skate park relocation included in final budget

November 26, 2013

The 2014 city budget, with more than $97 million in planned expenditures, passed unanimously last week after the City Council removed $300,000 worth of expenses and added $400,000 in revenue.

During its Nov. 18 regular meeting, the council put its final approval on the annual budget after four long work sessions and two public hearings that gathered no criticism. It allows for an additional police officer, funding for relocating the skate park and a new executive human services position. The new additions will cost more than $470,000. In order to add enough revenue to cover the expenses, council approved a 1 percent increase in property taxes.

“The 2014 budget is a balanced budget that continues our commitment to the quality of living to the citizens of Issaquah,” Financial Director Diane Marcotte said. “This goes very much in alignment with our emphasis in sustainability. It maintains our cash reserves at near current levels, and continues to meet our recently adopted financial policies and budget policies.”

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Gilman Square redevelopment plan raises retail worries

November 19, 2013

Requiring retail development might be discussed in the Central Issaquah Plan’s first progress report.

Still in the beginning phases, the redevelopment of Gilman Square into three five-story residential buildings has raised questions on the City Council due to the plan’s lack of retail space.

Though the city asked several times for developer Lennar Multifamily Investors to allow for bottom-floor retail space, Lennar declined, opting to proceed with its vision to build 340 new residences on the site.

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