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Issaquah, Sammamish near deal on Klahanie | Interlocal agreement complete, pending votes
The cities of Issaquah and Sammamish have tenatively reached an agreement regarding the annexation of Klahanie.
“After months of negotiations, we have finally reached an agreement,” Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici said.
In an interlocal agreement created by both parties, Issaquah is agreeing to support the annexation of Klahanie to Sammamish and will help with grant efforts regarding the Issaquah-Fall City Road project and construction that will need to follow the annexation. In return, Sammamish has agreed to support the Central Issaquah Plan and pay Issaquah $30,000 for its Klahanie annexation study. Also, if the Klahanie annexation area is transferred to Sammamish, the city has agreed that it will not impose or accept any retail sales tax credit.
“Nobody got everything that they wanted,” Yazici said. “This was back and forth negotiations.”
The agreement states that within one year of annexation, Sammamish will set aside $3 million in a separate transportation project account for the Issaquah-Fall City Road, amend its transportation and capital improvement plans to make the roadway one of the city’s top four priority projects, and immediately pursue state and federal matching funds to complete the improvements as quickly as possible. The improvements will be made from Beaver Lake Road and Duthie Hill to the Issaquah-Pine Lake/Issaquah-Fall City intersection. It also states that within six months of annexation, Sammamish and Issaquah will jointly agree on the project’s scope and timing.
Yazici said that at this time, there is no estimate as to how much the project will cost.
“This proposed agreement benefits both cities – and potentially our Klahanie area neighbors,” Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler said. “I look forward to working with Sammamish as we continue our regional planning partnership.”
Sammamish Mayor Tom Vance said he thinks the terms of the agreement are “very acceptable,” and makes for a win for both cities as well as the people of Klahanie.
“I think this is a very productive step in our relationship with Issaquah,” said Sammamish councilmember Nancy Whitten. “I hope we do nothing but build on this. We can do wonderful things together.”
Whitten said she is very pleased with the agreement, but made it clear that while this is the critical first step, there are many steps to follow, like getting the annexation on a ballot.
Yazici said that due to the process and abundance of steps, there is not enough time to get the annexation on the November ballot.
“It’s really going to be a slow-track,” Yazici said. “As hard as everyone works at this, it’s a really slow process that we have to go through.”
However, approving the interlocal agreement is the most critical step to start the process, he said.
“The real key here is we’re repairing our relationship with Issaquah,” said Sammamish councilmember Kathy Huckabay. “It will be very important that we move forward together.”
Sammamish plans to vote on the interlocal agreement next week. Issaquah’s council Land and Shore Committee reviewed the agreement at its April 8 meeting, and will be making a few recommendations, returning it to the full council at its April 21 meeting.
Most Sammamish council members are extremely pleased with the agreement and how the two cities are working together.
“This allows us to get over a major hurdle, finally, so I’m hoping we can agree on this next week,” Vance said.