Issaquah Press rebukes city again, says Klahanie should annex to Sammamish

The Issaquah Press, which condemned the Issaquah government over its cybersquatting of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District websites, rebuked the city again when it editorialized that the Klahanie area should annex to Sammamish.

The same editorial appeared in the sister newspaper, The Sammamish Review.

The Boundary Review Board Thursday night approved Issaquah’s request to proceed to an annexation vote for Klahanie. Members commented about some of the public testimony in opposition to the annexation and about issues related to water and sewer and fire service, but concluded that these “emotional” arguments and inter-governmental agency disputes were not germane to the annexation itself. Essentially, the BRB concluded there was no legal reason to deny the request. In the end, the BRB took the position, “let the voters decide.”

The vote is scheduled for February.

Sammamish Landing additions have $2m price tag

Improvements to the recently-opened Sammamish Landing park on the lake at the far north end of the city have a price tag of almost $2 million, according to this article in The Sammamish Review.

This is an eyebrow raising figure.

The two docks there cost more than $500,000. The park is a nice little addition to the adjacent trail, and after it officially opened, I routinely observed a lot of cars along the Parkway for patrons.

But another $2 million? This is a lot of money.

A parking lot is absolutely needed. Port-a-potties can suffice, reducing the cost by a half-million. This leaves the cost of the improvements at $1.5m, still an eye-popping number. A good portion of this is  federally-required ADA access. I can’t help but wonder if some volunteer work can’t be applied here, as it was for Evans Creek Park. Just a thought.

But the suggestion by some on the City Council that Redmond or King County should kick in money because their residents use the park is a bit cheeky. As City Manager Ben Yacizi points out, our residents use parks in Redmond and King County and don’t pay to do so (other than general taxes to King County and a parking fee of $1 for Marymoor Park).

Sammamish Landing originally was owned by Redmond, as land-banking for the eventual day when Redmond annexed the north end of the Plateau. After we incorporated, Redmond signed over the land to Sammamish. I don’t recall if it was a free transfer or if Sammamish bought the land, but I seem to remember it was free or a nominal payment (this may be incorrect).

I think it would be chutzpah for Sammamish to ask Redmond to kick in money, especially if my memory is correct. A stronger argument might be made to approach King County, since this amenity enhances the trail, which is owned by the County. Maybe improvements to the Landing can be a part of the paving of the trail that is commence next year, with the county kicking in a contribution of some level. But don’t ask Redmond. I think it has already been more than generous.

 

Issaquah to Klahanie in 2010: We can’t support your parks and we’re fine with giving them away

As Klahanie residents await a decision from the state Boundary Review Board whether to allow an annexation vote into Issaquah next February, it’s useful to recall that as recently as 2010, Issaquah said it didn’t have the funds to maintain the parks in the area.

Though Klahanie is in the City of Issaquah’s Potential Annexation Area (PAA), they too have said they don’t have the money to maintain the park,” the Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter detailed.

The paper also wrote, “At a joint meeting of the Issaquah and Sammamish city councils on Tuesday night, councilors had their first close look at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was drafted by King County some months ago, and states ‘the parties acknowledge that the City of Sammamish has the resources and infrastructure to maintain this facility at the current or higher level of service… and agree that it is in the best interest of the general public for King County to transfer Klahanie park to Sammamish.'” (Emphasis added.)

Even Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler took note of the Sammamish’s willingness to step up, according to the paper.

“I think it should be noted that it was Sammamish who stepped forward with a solution when one was needed,” Issaquah Councilmember Fred Butler said.

It’s three years later, and there is no indication that Issaquah is in a better financial condition to provide services that Klahanie needs. It’s also worth noting that Issaquah was fine with giving away Klahanie’s parks three years ago, which of course raises questions just how committed the Issaquah City Council is to Klahanie–or whether it wants Klahanie for what Klahanie brings to Issaquah, not what it can do for Klahanie.

Highest cost estimate on Community Center a big concern

The news that the proposed Sammamish/YMCA community center is already $4m over the price presented to voters is a real concern.

With only 30 percent of the project designed, city officials hope that when 60% is designed, costs will be fined-tuned and closer to the $30m taxpayers were told this project would cost.

I’m not so sanguine.

Buildings and construction projects seem to have a habit of gaining costs. Unknown unknowns can add to the cost. Project delays can increase the cost. Any number of things can do so.

Based on the Sammamish Review article linked above, it sounds like the City Council is pretty much going to bite the bullet and move ahead with a shrug of the shoulders (to mix metaphors).

This project started out as a $64m Taj Mahal. I sure hope it doesn’t have design creep that drives up the cost even more than it is coming out of the box.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 3: City reneged on signed MOU transferring Klahanie PAA to Sammamish

I’ve previously written Part 1 and Part 2 about why Issaquah can’t be trusted. Here’s another reason, Part 3: Issaquah reneged on a May 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Sammamish that would have transferred the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area to Sammamish from Issaquah.

Mayor Ava Frisinger signed the MOU on May 6, 2002, attested to by Marcia Conon, the city clerk, and “Approved as to Form” by Wayne Tanaka, the city attorney.

Four months later, in September, Issaquah reneged.

This timeline is outlined in a submission by Sammamish to the Boundary Review Board, which is holding a public meeting tonight on Issaquah’s request to authorize an annexation vote in February.

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The Boundary Review Board holds its public hearing Wednesday, September 18, 2013, at 7pm at the Holiday Inn in Issaquah.

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Here is a download of the MOU: Klahanie MOU

The MOU’s reasons are clearly stated: with Sammamish, then a newly incorporated city, having better proximity and more contiguous boarders, among other reasons, Frisinger and Sammamish City Manager Ben Yacizi, who signed the MOU for Sammamish, agreed that Klahanie should go to Sammamish.

Why Klahanie annexation, water fight matter to Sammamish

This is the “Sammamish Comment.” So why am I spending so much time on a water fight between Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and the proposed annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie?

Because of the impacts on Sammamish, which could be profound.

The water fight and the annexation are the crescendo of long-running disputes between Sammamish and Issaquah, in which Issaquah has basically stiff-armed Sammamish at nearly every turn–most notably years-long efforts to adjust the financial contributions of the many partners in the Eastside Fire and Rescue (EFR) service.

Sammamish, by assessed value of the homes and land, pays the largest share into EFR. But Issaquah generates more calls. By Sammamish’s analysis, Issaquah should be paying about $500,000 a year more than it is based on the actual calls.

Issaquah refuses to adjust. Relations between Sammamish and Issaquah have reached a breaking point. Sammamish will decide soon whether to withdraw from EFR and form its own fire department or possibly even an alliance with Redmond.

Sammamish might close “Klahanie” fire station

Sammamish has warned that if Klahanie annexes to Issaquah, Station 83, more commonly known as the Klahanie fire station–which is owned by Sammamish and located at SE 32nd and Issaquah-Pine Lake Road–may be closed. Issaquah, according to our information from Sammamish, has already told our leaders it won’t buy the station.

This didn’t stop the Issaquah police chief from telling Klahanie residents that he could co-locate a police sub-station at the Klahanie fire station, a comment that came as a surprise to Sammamish officials.

Issaquah’s arrogance over EFR matters–and the continued unfair financial burden Sammamish taxpayers have because of Issaquah–is an issue unto itself but it’s also tied to the Klahanie annexation.

Continue reading “Why Klahanie annexation, water fight matter to Sammamish”

Water District vs Issaquah: video presentations tell the story

The debate is contentious. The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District says Issaquah wants to inject contaminated water into an area where fecal coliform can infiltrate into an aquifer that provides up to 50% of the drinking water for the District, which serves 54,000 residents in Issaquah (including part of the Issaquah Highlands, all of Providence Point and Overdale), all of Klahanie and other parts of unincorporated King County and roughly three quarters of Sammamish.

Issaquah officials charge the Water District is resorting to scare tactics and its real “agenda” is “self-preservation” and to block the potential annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie. What’s noteworthy of Mayor Ava Frisinger’s approach on this is that by making allegations that the District has an “agenda” and personally attacking the president of the District, she’s avoiding the issues and the City is repeating tactics from 2008 when the Washington Department of Ecology forced (repeat, forced) Issaquah to shut down the so-called LRIG (Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery) in the first place.

Then, according to the press report at the time, Issaquah told Ecology:

They stated that the DOE relied on information supplied by the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, and said it was “riddled with factual errors,” and contains “inflammatory, incorrect and prejudicial statements masquerading as science and technical analysis.” They also call the monitoring program required by the DOE order “extensive, expensive, excessive, unreasonable and arbitrary.

Frisinger and her administration are following the same line of attack today.

Fortunately, you can see for yourself. Issaquah and the Water District each made presentations to the Sammamish City Council on the issue. Sammamish is trying to sort out facts and has heard from both sides. Issaquah heard the presentation from its own consultant, who also presented to Sammamish, but has so far not wanted to hear from the Water District. It’s clear Issaquah doesn’t give a damn about public opinion or scientific questions over the dispute and it’s equally clear it doesn’t want to hear from the Water District, which is why the District felt compelled to “go public” in the first place.

But you can watch the following videos:

Issaquah Presentation to Issaquah City Council (this was the same presentation given to the Sammamish City Council the same evening). This is 31 minutes.

Water District Presentation to Sammamish City Council on June 4. (Issaquah hasn’t invited the Water District to present to the City Council). Advance to 46:30 minutes for the hour-long presentation.

I think you will find a great deal of useful information that you can compare about who is more factual and more complete.

With respect to the allegation of “self-preservation,” Issaquah is attempting a hostile takeover of a small portion of the District that includes three wells (the ones using the aquifer at risk) in such a way that will dismember the infrastructure to the detriment of Sammamish residents, and those in unincorporated King County. 93% of the District lies outside Issaquah (using Issaquah’s own number) and Issaquah refuses to talk with the District or Sammamish in a way to resolve these issues and concerns. Instead, officials have made it clear that they are only interested in themselves, no matter the consequences to anyone else.

The threat to the water quality is why the Water District is putting up such a fight.