2014 remembered for what went away

December 31, 2014

Annexations, retirements, plastic bags, development, a looming school closure, retail marijuana, bank robberies, the Concerts on the Green series, and business and occupation taxes made the list of the top 10 news stories of the year in Issaquah.

Here are those stories, in no particular order:

Klahanie-area annexation issue moves to Sammamish

Issaquah residents voted no, for the second time, on the city of Issaquah annexing the Klahanie area. The King County Growth Management Planning Council then unanimously approved the idea to move the Klahanie area from Issaquah’s Potential Annexation Area to Sammamish’s.

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Heroin use is on the rise in Issaquah and King County

December 30, 2014

Over a year ago, in June 2013, then-Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers said the use of heroin locally was on the rise.

“It appears the use of heroin has risen over the meth usage,” Ayers said.

The situation has not improved.

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City boundaries to encompass Lake Sammamish State Park

December 23, 2014

With a unanimous vote at its Dec. 15 meeting, the Issaquah City Council formally annexed Lake Sammamish State Park, making it part of the city.

The annexation includes 300 acres of parkland, beaches, the park picnic area and the boat launch, said Trish Heinonen, city long range planning manager.

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Celebrating Hanukkah

December 22, 2014

Survey seeks opinions about city issues

December 16, 2014

The city of Issaquah administration wants to know how you feel about the city you call home.

Beginning early this month and continuing until Jan. 10, the National Research Center, a private Colorado firm contracted to determine local opinions about Issaquah in general, has been contacting residents with a variety of questions.

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Editorial — Traffic plan is needed, but will it bring results?

December 16, 2014

City officials have recommended a plan to do something about traffic in Issaquah, one that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

That’s the good news.

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Traffic plan may cost $300 million

December 9, 2014

Package would include 500 percent increase in impact fees

Looking to accommodate expected residential and retail growth without creating gridlock on city streets, Issaquah’s administration has come up with a $300 million transportation plan that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

But to help pay for all the needed road improvements, administration officials have proposed a 500 percent hike in the traffic impact fees developers pay.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were adopted, that figure jumps to $8,600.

The impact fees would not cover the entire cost of the plan, which includes $250 million for roadwork and an additional $50 million for bike paths and pedestrian accommodations, city consultant Randy Young said in an interview.

Young said the city would need to fund the remainder at a cost of approximately $165 million for roadwork and roughly $26 million for bike and pedestrian pathways.

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Council lowers B&O tax increase, raises property taxes, as expected

November 25, 2014

Business leaders spoke up and the Issaquah City Council listened.

In a 5-2 vote, council members approved a 50 percent hike in the city’s business and occupation taxes. The increase was a major part of the overall $168.6 million 2015 budget adopted by the council at its regular meeting Nov. 17.

Initially, Mayor Fred Butler proposed a 150 percent increase in the B&O taxes over a two-year period. At a public hearing Nov. 3, representatives from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and some of Issaquah’s biggest businesses, such as Darigold and Costco, said that was just too much.

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Food program rule change raises concerns

November 18, 2014

A flurry of emails, a number of meetings, accusations of drug use and some hard feelings have arisen in the wake of a move to keep people from eating free meals outside the Issaquah Community Hall.

Some say the move is an obvious attempt to keep the city’s homeless and underprivileged out of sight.

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Swedish Issaquah is chosen to treat Ebola

November 18, 2014

Swedish Medical Center’s Issaquah Campus is now one of eight hospitals throughout the state designated to receive and treat potential cases of Ebola.

Hospitals in the state are undergoing preparations for possibly dealing with Ebola cases, according to a Nov. 17 press release from the Washington State Department of Health.

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