June 22, 2010
Issaquah intends to participate in the updated plan for animal care, control and licensing, though most city residents might not notice any changes.
City Council members agreed last week to join the regional plan for King County Animal Care and Control services. The agency handles responses to complaints about vicious animals, animal-cruelty investigations and pickups of stray animals.
The updated agreement calls for similar services, but puts more emphasis on pet licensing to help fund the agency.
The council approved the contract in a unanimous decision June 7. King County officials and representatives from Issaquah and 26 other cities worked for months to develop the updated plan.
County Executive Dow Constantine sent a package of proposed reforms to the King County Council to remake the troubled animal-control agency. Constantine proposed code changes to restructure license fees and smooth the way for partnerships between the county government and private organizations to care for stray animals and license pets.
Constantine also requested $3.2 million — backed by $2.5 million from licensing fees and other revenue — to implement the model.
June 22, 2010
Sometimes, the Issaquah School District needs to put its integrity ahead of student interest. Last week, its integrity slipped when district officials tried to change a long-standing contract with the city of Sammamish.
The city upgraded the fields at Skyline High School with lights and turf in exchange for community use between 6 and 9 p.m. The city has assured nearby neighbors that the field lights would be off by 9 p.m.
Circumstances are changing for the school as it adds a freshman class, and more playing time on the fields is needed for freshman teams. It was suggested the city move its community play time an hour later and just keep the field lights burning until 10 p.m.
The school district’s not-so-veiled threat to Sammamish – give us more time or we won’t let you use the fields at all – was both wrong and a poor bluff. We are troubled by the district’s lack of concern for the community at large and the adjacent property owners, who would have to put up with lights and noise until 10 p.m.
As Sammamish Councilwoman Nancy Whitten pointed out, the school district was asking for all of the sacrifices to be on the city’s end of the deal. This is no way to maintain a relationship with the city, or with the neighbors.
Both sides are fighting for the good of overlapping constituencies of taxpayers.
The city of Sammamish took the high road – agreeing to give Skyline an extra half-hour of field time while trying to work out a more permanent solution. School officials should take a lesson.
May 18, 2010
The federal government has called for stricter environmental standards along Lake Sammamish, prompting protests from officials in Issaquah and other cities along the lake.
The standards — outlined in a March e-mail from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — aim to limit development within 250 feet of the Lake Sammamish shoreline. But municipal officials said the proposed change could limit public agencies and homeowners alike from building along the scenic lake. Even road construction — such as widening East Lake Sammamish Parkway, for instance — might be impacted by the proposal.
Under the proposal, landowners within 250 feet of the lake could not increase a building in size by more than 10 percent. The measure also aims to limit property owners from adding more than 10 percent of paved roads or roofing within the buffer.
The e-mail originated at the FEMA office in Bothell.
Citing a 2008 National Marine Fisheries Service report, the FEMA message recommended broad standards to restrict new development within 250 feet of fish-bearing lakes and tributaries within floodplains across the Puget Sound region.
FEMA prepared the proposed regulations in response to the report. The report said the National Flood Insurance Program influences development along lake shorelines and therefore has a direct impact on shoreline habitat.
The report said several species — including salmon and orca varieties, and a steelhead species — could be jeopardized or impacted if officials did not adopt the shoreline standards.
But the report did not include Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon among the species in trouble, although environmentalists and scientists said development along Lake Sammamish and tributary creeks has pushed the fish to the brink of extinction.
Issaquah and Sammamish officials, alarmed at the possible implications for private and civic development along the lake, pushed back against the proposal.
May 11, 2010
When Sammamish officials decided to let the Aldarra and Montaine neighborhoods join the city, they created a revenue problem for the Fall City Fire Department.
Those neighborhoods are served by the Fall City department. After coming into Sammamish, they would normally be served by Eastside Fire & Rescue.
As a result, Fall City Fire, officially called King County Fire District 27, would lose out on an estimated $125,081 in 2010 property tax revenue when the neighborhoods join Sammamish.
Now, Ben Yazici, Sammamish city manager, is trying to negotiate a temporary fix, which would save the district all but about $6,000 of that money.
Sammamish would pay Fall City Fire to be the first responder to calls from the Aldarra and Montaine neighborhoods through 2012.
In that scenario, Aldarra and Montaine would be the only two neighborhoods in Sammamish that would receive a lower level of service. Fall City uses two-person companies, while EFR uses three-person companies on a fire engine responding to basic emergency medical calls and basic fire investigations.
April 13, 2010
Sammamish will not become the temporary owner of Klahanie Park, the Sammamish City Council decided last week.
With a 7-0 vote, the council decided against becoming the temporary owner of the park April 6. The city will still work to keep the park open.
King County had offered up the park on a three-year basis and on the condition that if Issaquah annexed the Klahanie development in the future, the park would transfer to Issaquah.
For Sammamish to take it over on a permanent basis, the Sammamish City Council would have to sign off on the transfer, the city of Issaquah would need to remove the park from its potential annexation area and the King County Council would have to give its blessing, too.
None of that may matter now, though. The prospect of paying to maintain the park without having permanent ownership wasn’t all that appetizing to Sammamish’s council.
“Why are we cutting their grass for free? That’s how I see it,” Councilman John Curley said.
Concerned Citizens of Klahanie, a citizen group that opposes Sammamish’s proposed takeover of the park, also turned some council members’ heads.
“We’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from people in Klahanie. They really don’t want Sammamish in their park. I think we really should respect their wishes,” Councilwoman Nancy Whitten said.
Councilwoman Michele Petitti went so far as to say that she was offended by the negative publicity attached to the proposed takeover. Read more
March 30, 2010
The process to transfer the county-run Klahanie Park to Sammamish has slowed, as King County officials and the Issaquah Soccer Club discuss ways to keep the park open. Read more
March 23, 2010
Elected officials debated the merits of ramping up public relations efforts for Eastside Fire & Rescue on March 11. Read more
March 16, 2010
Issaquah and Sammamish city council members met last week for a wide-ranging discussion about the challenges faced by the neighboring cities.
Talk about Klahanie Park, how the cities will provide animal-control services after June 30 and the future of emergency services dominated the March 9 meeting at Sammamish City Hall.
With county-run animal shelters set to end June 30, members of both city councils said no proposal exists yet to provide the services now handled by King County Animal Care and Control. Although, representatives from both cities said staffers continue to work on a solution.
A solution could result in a regional partnership among several cities, or individual cities could commission animal-control officers. Federal Way officials, for instance, announced a plan to form a city animal-services agency.
March 16, 2010
Under a new proposal offered by King County, Issaquah could still receive Klahanie Park if the city someday annexed the surrounding neighborhood — even if Sammamish acquired the facility in the meantime.
King County Parks Director Kevin Brown offered a proposal to transfer ownership of the park to whichever city annexes Klahanie. Sammamish has proposed a takeover of Klahanie Park in unincorporated King County, but the offer has riled neighborhood residents.
If Issaquah ever annexes Klahanie — and if neighborhood residents vote for the proposal — Issaquah receives the park alongside the neighborhood.
March 2, 2010
Issaquah city officials called last week for decisions about adding Klahanie Park to the municipal parks system to be made alongside long-term growth agreements.