I appreciate Ms. Barbara Raabe remembering me from my time as mayor back in the 1990s (“Same old story,” The Reporter, Aug. 27), but my recollection differs somewhat from hers. Maybe because my viewpoint is/was different.
Back in the 90s when the Plateau Comprehensive Plan was put together, there was no City of Sammamish so the plan involved only the unincorporated area of the Issaquah/Sammamish Plateau, and the City of Issaquah was not a member of that planning group.
As such I, as Mayor of Issaquah, was not privy to the discussions and presentations mentioned by Ms. Raabe, nor was I a signer (for the City of Issaquah) of that agreement. Neither was I the instigator of any discussions involving Port Blakely and King County about any subsequent changes to that agreement.
At the time, Issaquah was a city of some 7,000 residents compared to King County’s approximately 1.5 million residents, and hardly a force to be reckoned with. The more normal situation was for King County to cough and Issaquah to catch a cold.
I would not call myself an ‘ardent’ supporter of Port Blakely’s proposal, as I am particularly disappointed in the amount of dirt that has been moved since the project has been under construction.
But there were some advantages to the proposal. To name at least one, the Issaquah/Sammamish Plateau is landlocked by Redmond on the north and Issaquah on the south, and even with the subsequent addition of the SPAR connection to exit 18 on I-90, the Plateau suffers from a lack of road access. Without the SPAR and exit 18 I submit there would be little development possible for the density Ms. Raabe mentions in the above Plateau Comprehensive Plan, as the access at the time would probably not have met the necessary level of service.
I must also admit here I have never been a supporter of 5-acre zoning as a rural designation as I think it is the worst of all possible worlds. I won’t say any more here on that issue.
I am amused by Ms. Raabe’s comment, “Somehow, without community input, Grand Ridge was designated urban.” I don’t know her definition of “community input,” but there was a multi-year process involving both the county and city planning departments, both administrations, and both the King County Council and the Issaquah City Council holding numerous public meetings, both individually and jointly, and almost always with Port Blakely attending. There was not one private meeting with the public excluded; however I am sure there were some executive sessions at public meetings involving either of the councils from which the public would have been excluded.
In any case the process could hardly have been more open. My personal preference would have been to address the Grand Ridge issue later after the city had some experience with smaller urban villages such as Talus, but that was not an option available to me or to the city.
From my perspective, the City of Issaquah could join King County and Port Blakely at their table, or King County and Port Blakely would reach their own accord and develop Grand Ridge entirely within the unincorporated area of King County.
I guess another way of saying this, is that the City of Issaquah never held a right to veto the process.
Hopefully, this will at least provide another insight to the Grand Ridge/Issaquah Highlands development process.
Hinds was the Mayor of Issaquah from 1990 to 1997