King County Council starts to delve into arena proposal

May 29, 2012

NEW — 11:55 a.m. May 29, 2012

King County Council members tapped a panel of experts to guide the council and offer independent analysis as officials review a proposal to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

Council Budget and Fiscal Management Committee members held the initial hearing on the arena proposal Tuesday. Members discussed the timeline for arena construction and possible costs to taxpayers, in addition to the terms outlined in the proposal.

Committee Chairman Joe McDermott announced the expert panel. The panel is comprised of members versed in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation.

“The panel’s participants have graciously volunteered their time and expertise to help us fully understand the benefits and risks of this proposal,” McDermott said in a statement. “This is a comprehensive panel — with skeptics among it.”

Read more

Council approves transportation plan

May 24, 2011

Proposal outlines repairs to weakened retaining wall

City Council members laid out a roadmap for Issaquah transportation projects May 2.

The council adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2012-17.

“Having a project on the TIP makes it eligible for certain types of funding, but more broadly, it signals to the community what improvements we’re considering for the future,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said before the unanimous decision.

The city Public Works Engineering Department lists transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritizes the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.

Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to the timber retaining wall along Southeast Black Nugget Road behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Some timbers started to dislodge, rot is prevalent, pressure distorted some pilings and the fence atop the wall is failing. The city attributes the problems to shoddy construction. The timber was cut too short and too thin for the area. In addition, the structure was not properly treated.

King County could provide some funding to offset the estimated $496,000 repair cost.

“We’ve been talking with King County for a couple of years now, and we’re very close to reaching an agreement with them whereby we can receive some funds fairly quickly, with the possibility of additional funds over an undetermined period of time,” Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock told the council.

Read more

Dollars steered to economic development projects

May 24, 2011

King County leaders scrapped the outdated Economic Enterprise Corp. and directed funds from the program to economic development programs throughout the region.

The legislation approved May 2 by the County Council directs almost all of the $95,000 remaining in the corporation to be disbursed to smaller projects.

The beneficiaries include $10,000 for the Puget Sound Regional Council — the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties — to update a regional economic strategy and $20,000 for the county Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

“This small investment can make a big difference for our economy,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, a co-sponsor of the legislation and the Issaquah representative, said in a release.

Created in 1984, the Economic Enterprise Corp. issued industrial revenue bonds to economic development in the county. The agency issued bonds totaling more than $48 million and created more than 600 jobs.

State lawmakers created the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority in 1990. The statewide agency served the same purpose as the county’s Economic Enterprise Corp. Eliminating the county agency eliminates duplication and saves money.

Leaders steer dollars to economic development projects

May 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. May 6, 2011

King County leaders scrapped the outdated Economic Enterprise Corporation and directed funds from the program to economic development programs throughout the region.

The legislation approved Monday by the County Council directs almost all of the $95,000 remaining in the corporation to be disbursed to smaller projects.

“Standing on the cusp of economic recovery from the greatest recession of our lifetimes, we need to invest in solutions that will help us build prosperity and get people back to work,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a release. “These one-time funds can help lay the foundation for job creation now and in the future.”

Read more

Issaquah growth center proposal raises questions

May 3, 2011

The nascent proposal to add almost 5,000 residential units to the business district in a pedestrian- and transit-friendly hub received a skeptical reception from city planning commissioners last week.

The city is considering a proposal to add a regional growth center in a bid to attract dollars for transportation and mass transit to Issaquah. The initial plans outline such a hub in 915-acre Central Issaquah, the commercial area spread along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The long-term blueprint for the Puget Sound region calls for areas designated as regional growth centers. The designation helps officials plan regional transportation infrastructure and determine the best sites for economic development.

The centers also receive higher priority for state and federal funding in order to connect the regional hubs — a crucial selling point.

Still, Planning Policy Commission members raised questions about a proposal to create a regional growth center and add up to 4,650 residential units in a dense neighborhood.

“I think the biggest question is, do we want to do this?” Commissioner Joan Probala asked during the April 28 meeting. “Because when we decide that we want to do it, you’re looking at changing the rest of the areas to some extent, and you’re going to encourage building to happen there” in the targeted area.

Read more

Muni League honors transit group, councilman

February 1, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine congratulated Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler and other members of a transit task force last week for receiving a prestigious honor from the Municipal League of King County.

The recommendations from the 28-member Regional Transit Task Force represent a potential roadmap to long-standing differences related to Metro Transit bus service. The group released the report to county leaders in November.

The group has received the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for the effort, the Municipal League announced Jan. 27.

“We asked 28 local leaders to set aside arbitrary political divisions and come up with transit recommendations that meet the needs of the entire county, and they exceeded all expectations,” Constantine said in a statement. “That takes real leadership, and I’m pleased to see their hard work and vision recognized by the Municipal League.”

The award honors individuals and organizations for contributing significant leadership in tackling regional public policy problems. The league recognized task force members for efforts “to clarify and organize the priorities and implementation processes for local transit during a time of budget reductions.”

Read more

King County transit task force receives top honor

January 27, 2011

NEW — 1 p.m. Jan. 27, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine congratulated Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler and other members of a transit task force Thursday for receiving a prestigious honor from the Municipal League of King County.

The recommendations from the 28-member Regional Transit Task Force represent a potential roadmap to long-standing differences related to Metro Transit bus service. The task force released the report to county leaders in November.

The group has received the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for the effort, Constantine announced Thursday.

“We asked 28 local leaders to set aside arbitrary political divisions and come up with transit recommendations that meet the needs of the entire county, and they exceeded all expectations,” he said in a statement. “That takes real leadership, and I’m pleased to see their hard work and vision recognized by the Municipal League.”

Read more

Undercrossing opens to link north and south Issaquah

December 21, 2010

Crews completed the Interstate 90 Undercrossing last week and opened the north-south connector to traffic Dec. 16. By Greg Farrar

The link between north and south Issaquah opened to traffic Dec. 16, after years of planning and months of construction.

The long-planned Interstate 90 Undercrossing — Fourth Avenue Northwest — runs from a traffic signal at the post office along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, connects into the rail corridor behind Gilman Station, forms a T-shaped intersection at Southeast 62nd Street, continues along 221st Place Southeast and then terminates at Southeast 56th Street.

Crews experienced a last-minute delay last month, after the installation of bridge safety railings lasted longer than expected. The city planned to open the connector around Dec. 6, but the slowdown prompted planners to update the schedule.

The link supplements traffic-clogged Front Street North and state Route 900, the other connectors between north and south Issaquah. Both older crossings also provide access to the interstate, but the combination of local traffic and vehicles from the on- and off-ramps add to the gridlock.

Because part of the undercrossing is located within the King County East Lake Sammamish Trail Corridor, the link also serves as a multimodal facility.

Pickering Trail also crosses Fourth Avenue Northwest at a signalized crossing, and then connects to the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Read more

Issaquah accepts grant to study land swap

November 23, 2010

Issaquah city leaders accepted a state grant last week to study how to preserve rural land and instead add density inside city limits.

The city received $100,000 to study a potential transfer of development rights between the Issaquah Creek watershed and the business district. Under such a transfer, a landowner sells development rights from properties in low-density areas to parties interested in building denser development in another area.

City Council members accepted the grant in a unanimous decision Nov. 15. The grant does not require any local matching dollars.

The city plans to use the funds to conduct environmental and market analyses to create a transfer-of-development-rights receiving site in part of a 915-acre commercial core along Interstate 90. The area is the focus of a detailed planning process to redevelop strip malls and parking lots into a pedestrian-friendly blend of businesses and residences.

The state Department of Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council — the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties — announced Sept. 15 more than $1 million in grants to 10 cities for transfer of development rights projects.

Issaquah receives $100,000 grant to study potential land swap

October 5, 2010

Issaquah has received $100,000 to study how to protect land in the Issaquah Creek watershed and, at the same time, add density in the urban core.

The city plans to use the grant to conduct environmental and market analyses to create a transfer-of-development-rights receiving site in part of a 915-acre commercial core along Interstate 90.

Under such a transfer, a landowner sells development rights from properties in low-density areas to parties interested in building denser development in another area.

The state Department of Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council announced Sept. 15 more than $1 million in grants to 10 cities for transfer of development rights projects.

The dollars come from a federal Environmental Protection Agency program to support regional planning in the Puget Sound watershed.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »