City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

April 3, 2012

Step is latest in big City Hall reshuffle

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase March 27, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process to apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

Read more

City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

March 28, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. March 28, 2012

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase Tuesday, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

Bob Harrison

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

City Administrator Bob Harrison said frequent questions from permit applicants influenced the project.

Read more

Pickering Barn garden gets $19,000 grant for upgrade

February 14, 2012

The city has received a $19,000 grant from the King Conservation District to improve the Pickering Barn Demonstration Garden — a showcase for organic gardening and a source for the local food bank.

In addition to garden upgrades, officials intend to use grant dollars to improve the site and add more educational components. Seattle Tilth, a regional leader in sustainable organic gardening and public education in natural yard care practices, oversees the garden’s education component.

Plans call for the expanded education component to operate alongside the Issaquah School District and the municipal Parks & Recreation Department. The school district program aims to provide in-classroom teaching, teacher training and transportation for schoolchildren from campuses to the garden. The program through the parks department calls for classes in the garden for after-school community programs. The grant is meant to help transport children to the garden for the program.

Read more

City announces employee layoffs amid reorganization

February 7, 2012

Officials announced cuts to the city workforce — including six layoffs — Feb. 1, as City Hall launches a broad reorganization.

Overall, leaders reduced staff through layoffs, a severance program and vacancies. The total includes five positions eliminated through voluntary separations and two vacant positions.

Because limited funding is available for capital projects, officials did not need as many employees for engineering and inspection functions. In November, officials announced plans to start employee layoffs in February.

The city also plans to add three positions for a beefed-up economic development effort. The plan is for Keith Niven, the longtime Major Development Review Team manager, to serve as economic development director and hire economic development managers.

Read more

City, schools use county grant to reduce student lunch waste

January 17, 2012

“We were really trying to get people to look at the waste stream differently,” said Mary Joe de Beck, resource conservation coordinator for the city of Issaquah.

In November, for national America Recycles Day, the city used a small King County grant to bring the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle to the front lines of five schools in the Issaquah School District.

Those five schools house some 2,650 students and spent several weeks gearing up for America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.

Read more

Save Lake Sammamish founder Joanna Buehler departs

January 3, 2012

 Joanna Buehler, founder and president of Save Lake Sammamish, has planted and kept runoff-filtering native wetland species on the lakeshore of her longtime South Cove home. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah trailblazer led efforts to protect lake from threats for decades

Joanna Buehler earned top honors for environmental efforts for decades spent on a difficult struggle to shield Lake Sammamish from constant pressures from a population boom occurring along the tree-lined shore.

Read more

CleanScapes picks up Issaquah garbage contract

October 25, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is CleanScapes.

In a unanimous decision Oct. 17, City Council members selected the Seattle-based garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes in early summer.

The rate could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 for a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup — although a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

“The public should realize that the staff of the city of Issaquah didn’t just put it out there and say, ‘Tell us what you can offer,’” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “They actually wrote the proposal saying, ‘This is what the city needs to have. These are the minimum, baseline service requirements that we’re going to ask for the citizens of Issaquah.’ Then, the different vendors were able to come back and say, ‘We’ll provide those at this price,’ and they could offer things on top of that.”

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members met representatives from CleanScapes and the other candidates, Allied Waste and Waste Management, Oct. 11 and sent the contract to the full council for approval.

Read more

Issaquah’s Sustainability Film Series bags plastics documentary

October 25, 2011

The film “Bag It” and a discussion about plastics anchor the next Sustainability Film Series event.

“Bag It” started as a documentary about plastic bags and evolved into a broader investigation into plastics. The film details plastics’ effects on waterways, oceans and human beings.

Then, after the film, a panel of experts plans to lead a discussion about plastics and how to reduce plastics usage. King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson and People for Puget Sound representative Heather Trimm plan to participate in the discussion.

The free event is from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 2 at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W. Call the municipal Resource Conservation Office at 837-3400 to learn more.

City Council selects CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is Seattle-based CleanScapes, City Council members decided Monday.

In a unanimous decision, council members selected the garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes.

For a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup, rates could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — though a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop in rates.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

Read more

City could choose CleanScapes for garbage contract, dump Waste Management

October 18, 2011

Officials seek hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods

CleanScapes nudged out larger competitors and emerged as the No. 1 contender to haul Issaquah garbage due, in part, to offering curbside pickup for difficult-to-recycle items, such as batteries and light bulbs.

The city is seeking a garbage hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods. Waste Management is the predominant hauler in the city, but the current contract between Issaquah and the Houston-based company expires in June.

Seattle-based CleanScapes came out as the top candidate after city officials evaluated offers from both companies and another collector, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services.

City officials said a $3.8-million-per-year CleanScapes contract could mean lower rates for Issaquah customers, plus increased customer service and recycling options. The contract requires City Council approval.

If the CleanScapes contract is approved, a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup could see rates decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — a 5.1 percent drop.

Read more

Next Page »