Council postpones right of way decision again

July 13, 2010

The decision about how the city should handle a section of right of way near East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast has been delayed again.

The council held a hearing about the 229th Avenue Southeast right of way in May and June, but extended the process on both occasions to allow city staffers more opportunities to contact landowners.

King County required the developer to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast in case the county or city someday decided to extend the street from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect to Southeast Black Nugget Road. The city annexed the area a decade ago, but officials do not intend to develop the road link.

The right of way runs near the Boeing building — officially the Eastpointe Corporate Center — behind The Home Depot. The city also located the owner: Piedmont Office Realty Trust, based in Johns Creek, Ga. The property management company acquired the building in 2003.

City Council members heard from a Seattle attorney hired by the property owner to examine the process. The council agreed last week to delay the next hearing until September.

City delays right of way decision until July

June 29, 2010

City Council members delayed a decision on a section of right of way near East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast until July 6.

The council held a hearing about the 229th Avenue Southeast right of way June 7. Members decided to extend the hearing in order to ensure the city had taken ample steps to contact adjacent landowners. The council held the initial hearing in May.

The right of way runs near the Boeing building behind The Home Depot. City Transportation Manager Gary Costa said the city had difficulty contacting the property manager for the Boeing complex.

King County required the developer to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast in case the county or city someday decided extend the street from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect to Southeast Black Nugget Road. In order to accommodate such a link, the county called for a 60-foot earthen embankment alongside the right of way.

Issaquah annexed the area a decade ago, but the city has no interest in developing the right of way into a road link. Under state law, officials must first contact adjacent landowners and hold a public hearing before relinquishing the right of way.

Front Street closes to traffic Sunday

June 19, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. June 19, 2010

Front Street will close to traffic from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Father’s Day, Sunday, as the DownTown Issaquah Association hosts the annual Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise, a part of Mountains to Sound Greenway’s annual Greenway Days celebration.

Northwest Alder Place adjacent to Vino Bella will close from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. to host a band and beer garden as part of the festivities.

A bike ride for the LIVESTRONG Challenge will travel near and through Issaquah from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., but no roads will be closed for the ride.

Drivers should watch for riders along Southeast May Valley Road, Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, Southeast Tiger Mountain Road, Second Avenue Southeast, East Sunset Way, Highlands Drive Northeast, Southeast Black Nugget Road, East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, Newport Way Northwest and Northwest Village Park Drive.

Cyclists will be required to adhere to the rules of the road, but drivers should expect possible delays.

City Council will decide whether to give up right of way

May 25, 2010

City Council members will soon consider relinquishing the opportunity to develop unpaved right of way just above East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

The council will listen to public comments before deciding whether to vacate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast on June 7.

King County required the developer behind The Home Depot at East Lake Center and near the Boeing complex to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast. Planners meant for the road to someday extend from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect with Southeast Black Nugget Road. In order to accommodate eventual link, the county called for a 60-foot earthen embankment alongside the right of way.

Issaquah annexed the area a decade ago.

“We inherited it when we annexed,” city Engineer Bonita McPherren said.

City planners said a roadway could not be built on the right of way without first building a high, reinforced retaining wall. The hurdle makes a road connection along the right of way impractical. Hence, the city has no need to retain the property.

Under state law, the council must hold a public hearing before the vacation can proceed. The council held the initial hearing May 17.

The council agreed to continue the hearing June 7 to allow for comment from city residents and landowners. No one addressed the council during the May 17 hearing.

McPherren said the city contacted nearby property owners at the start of the process, but officials only heard from a single neighbor. Council members asked McPherren to contact nearby landowners again before the June hearing.

Besides the business district along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, the annexation brought the Overdale Park neighborhood into the city.

Newport Way upgrades, trail links on city transportation plan

April 27, 2010

The long-term plan to upgrade Issaquah roads reaches the City Council next week.

Officials plan a public hearing on the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP. The hearing presents residents and landowners with a chance to offer input on the sweeping document. The plan outlines transportation projects though 2016.

Some of the projects slated for completion will be familiar to longtime residents. They include the Interstate 90 Undercrossing and a pedestrian connector to link trails across the interstate and along state Route 900.

The plan also calls for about $213,000 to overhaul Newport Way Northwest from West Sunset Way to Maple Street Northwest. Officials hope to upgrade paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, and to add roundabouts to ease traffic congestion in the corridor.

The plan also includes the partnership between the city and the largest employer in Issaquah to upgrade road access near the Costco corporate headquarters and flagship store. The city and Costco agreed in March to split the $63,736 cost to study possible improvements.

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With garbage strike delayed, Waste Management asks residents to put out trash as usual

April 1, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. April 1, 2010

Garbage should be picked up as usual Thursday, after trash haulers and Waste Management agreed to continue labor negotiations.

The haulers’ contract expired at midnight Wednesday. Although Waste Management and Teamsters Local 174 continue to negotiate a final agreement, union officials said drivers should report to work Thursday. The parties agreed to continue negotiating early Thursday morning.

“We are happy that talks are continuing and look forward to participating in a full day of bargaining focused on a deal,” Waste Management spokeswoman Jackie Lang said in a statement posted on the company Web site.

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Contaminated soil found at Overlake Center site

March 22, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. March 21, 2009

Workers are taking steps to prevent groundwater contamination after old tires and a leaky metal drum were unearthed at a construction site along East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said city officials took precautions because the debris was uncovered near a well that serves the Overdale neighborhood. Debris had not contaminated the well, he said.

“You want to take extra steps to preclude anything from happening,” he added.

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No plans to reopen Black Nugget Road

March 2, 2009

It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless.” — Kjersten HayterBlack Nugget Road resident

It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless.” — Kjersten HayterBlack Nugget Road resident

Of the more than 60 people packed into Blakely Hall Feb. 24, only two raised their hands in support of reopening Southeast Black Nugget Road; the rest were there to speak in opposition.

While there were no official plans to open the roadway to traffic again, city officials wanted to get a sense of how residents felt about reopening the blocked-off road.

“I remember multiple Issaquah community meetings where the topic to open Black Nugget was brought up this summer. Compound that with the written request and it was time to get the community together,” said Keith Niven, program manager for the city’s Major Development Review Team.

A Dec. 12 e-mail from Kjersten Hayter, a resident, added to the comments.

“It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless,” Hayter wrote.

“Opening Black Nugget would negatively impact me because it’s my neighborhood,” resident Chris Hawkins said at the meeting. “But I’d rather travel down there than have to travel through Park Drive, especially with new retail going in there.”

Southeast Black Nugget Road was blocked off as part of an agreement made between King County officials, highlands developer Port Blakely and neighboring residents on the road.

When the highlands began developing, Black Nugget was used as its only entry and exit. Without significant improvements, the road wouldn’t be able to handle the traffic created by the highlands, so when more than 500 homes or units were built, the road was closed with blocks that can be removed in case of emergency. The road has remained closed since.

If reopening the road was something residents would’ve wanted at the meeting, Niven said he could recommend the City Council draft a request to the county to have it opened. Because the roadway is county-owned, the decision ultimately rests with county officials, he said.

But the majority of neighboring residents, many who have lived in the area for decades, disagreed with the reopening.

Residents cited several reasons for keeping it closed, such as safety for children who play at the nearby park, wildlife in the area, increased traffic noise, potential crime and the construction modifications necessary to make the road operational.

Lane Scelzi, owner of Sip Wine Bar and Restaurant, said the businesses on Park Drive that rely on drive-by business would be adversely affected by a second entrance.

Black Nugget Road neighbors also said an agreement shouldn’t be broken to save a few people a couple of minutes off of their commute time.

In light of the overwhelming opposition, Niven said he would recommend the City Council not take any further action.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

Bring questions to Black Nugget Road meeting Tuesday

February 22, 2009

NEW — 12:01 a.m. Feb. 22, 2008

Residents with questions about the proposed opening of Black Nugget Road to the Issaquah Highlands will gather Tuesday night, as city officials consider whether to pursue the effort. A request to the city to open the road to the highlands has galvanized residents opposed to the idea.

The meeting is designed to foster discussion among highlands residents about the proposed opening. Several residents have voiced opposition to the proposal.

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