City Council gets earful over preference for Issaquah-Fall City Road improvement

June 11, 2016: The Sammamish City Council got an earful from a resident about a six year wait to improve Duthie Hill Road on the City’s Northeast side.

“I don’t think you are hearing my level of frustration,” said Robert Nielson, 2311 277th Ave. SE, following an explanation by Council Member Tom Odell about efforts to reach an agreement with King County that would allow Sammamish to take over County-owned portions of Duthie Hill Road.

“We were told this six years ago when we were annexed into the City. In six years, nothing has happened. So why should I believe you now?”

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Sammamish council goes on August recess; here’s what’s waiting when it’s back

The Sammamish City Council has gone on its August recess. Here are some of the things waiting for their action when they come back–and some additional information as well.

On the waiting list:

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“We need King County,” Sammamish says; now we know why

  • Variety of public works projects need King County cooperation and support.
  • Klahanie annexation a factor.
  • East Lake Sammamish Trail development a factor.
  • City doesn’t know the value of its Staff time devoted to the East Lake Sammamish Trail-King County issues.

During the disputes early this year over King County’s development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail North End (Section 1) and proposed design of the far South End (Section 2A), many urged the City to take a firm hand with the County.

Some, including at one point City Council Member Tom Odell, urged the City to issue a Stop Work Order on the North End while the City reviewed problems that developed as the County destroyed “significant” trees (ie, good quality, mature trees), young trees and scrub trees; damaged sewage lines, while denying responsibility; building a trail that effectively denied access by some homeowners to their own garages; and other issues that came up.

Sammamish Comment detailed these problems last January in an 18-page investigative report.

At the same time, the County was designing Section 2A, that part of the trail from the 7-11 south to the Issaquah City Limits. Residents along the trail, interested parties and the City submitted comments to the County. When the 60% design was issued, these parties were enraged to see that the County had largely ignored the comments. The City was particularly unhappy that none of its comments were addressed.

As the permitting agency, the City held power over the County. Officials threatened to withhold permits for the Southern sections 2A and 2B (which is still to come). Holding up permits would threaten the loss of federal funding.

But the City was reluctant to issue a Stop Work Order on the North End, terminate an interlocal agreement with the County governing the Trail, or take other measures, because “We need King County.”

Officials at the time wouldn’t detail what this meant.

What was meant became clear with the July 7 City Council meeting and subsequent events. Officials were reluctant to take a firmer hand over the Trail because:

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Spending on the rise in Sammamish; heads up, taxpayers, Klahanie

Nearly a year ago, I raised the alarm about increased spending by the City of Sammamish. At that time, I identified at least $100 million in spending and that the City could be on a path to tax increases.

Here’s what I identified in May 2014:

  • Community Center: $35 million and probably more.
  • Developing the former YMCA property next to Pine Lake School, at a cost of $15 million proposed in the park plan.
  • Sahalee Road improvements at an unidentified cost, but probably in the low millions at the least.
  • Millions of dollars in the park plan for the Sammamish Landing, the Pigott property and more.
  • Klahanie Annexation: $32 million for road improvements and who knows what else on top of this, almost certainly amounting to tens of millions of dollars more.
  • Widening Issaquah-Pine Lake Road at a cost of $16.5m.
  • Rebuilding “Snake Hill Road” (it’s really 212th Ave. SE, down the windy, snake-like drive to East Lake Sammamish Parkway): Millions of dollars.
  • Desires to take over the Northeast Sammamish and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer Districts: tens of millions of dollars, at a minimum.
  • Town Center improvements.
  • And this is on top of the normal operations of the city, including millions of dollars for road maintenance, parks, services and overhead.

Let’s update these: Continue reading

Revisiting the “Notch”

Sammamish is once again interested in annexing the so-called Notch. This post, which has a link within it to another post, explains my view about the Notch.

Annexing the Notch at the current R-1 zoning doesn’t bring anything to Sammamish. Annexing the Notch as R-6, in neighboring Trossochs, doesn’t bring anything to Sammamish, either.

The Notch should be annexed as a mixed use development patterned after Juanita Village in Kirkland. See the earlier post for descriptions.