Council holds public hearing to address underutilized Issaquah facility

Proposal to declare the Northwest City Hall facility surplus property.

At the April 15 Issaquah City Council meeting, officials presented the 2024 Legislative Session report. Additionally, two public hearings took place to discuss the disposal of an underutilized city-owned property and the inclusion of the Multi-Family Tax Exemption in the recently approved Central Issaquah Pioneer Program. The city also received an overview of its capital projects and approved a police bargaining agreement.

City Hall surplus property

The city hosted a public hearing regarding the proposal to declare the Northwest City Hall facility surplus property. The building, located at 1775 12th Ave NW, was formerly used by the planning and public works departments but was closed in 2020 due to the cost of upkeep, poor conditions and the increase in remote work, according to the bill.

“Significant capital reinvestment is required to restore the building condition, and the building layout is not functional for providing city services,” the bill stated, later adding it would cost $2.5 million to reopen the facility.

Instead of investing more money into the building, the bill proposes the council declare the property as a surplus and sell it to another owner.

If the council green lights the proposal on May 6, it will return for further council approval regarding rezoning and a comprehensive plan amendment. These modifications will change the property from a community facility to a mixed-use property within the urban core of Issaquah.

The bill proposes the city sell the property to a business or non-profit and use the funds — currently assessed at $3.7 million — for city facility needs.

At the public hearing, one resident recommended the city not sell the property but repurpose the property into low-income housing with support services.

”It’s close to transportation, it’s close to the Motel 6, which you’re using for a shelter, and it’s close to shopping,” the resident said.

Capital projects update:

The city council received a report on the capital projects corresponding to the six-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The report provided an overview and status of all active projects.

The report showed an increase of 20 new projects since October 2023 and a decrease in current projects experiencing major and minor challenges. The report also indicated a rise in projects on track or completed since October 2023.

“Many projects that were delayed in 2022 and 2023 due to staffing vacancies are now on track on their new timelines due to successful staffing up in key project management positions,” the report stated.

The report lists the new 20 projects in detail, with several upcoming mobility projects, stormwater projects, sewer projects, water projects and one park project.

Projects anticipated to finish in Q2 include the Veterans Consolidated Park improvements, Confluence Park Ek House improvements and the Cabin Creek tributary stabilization and enhancement project.

Projects anticipated to finish in Q3 include the Newport Way Landslide repair, East Lake Sammamish Parkway pavement preservation and Southeast 43rd Way pavement preservation project.

The report noted the Gilman Boulevard improvements project, slated to begin in 2023, has been pushed to 2027.

Police managers collective bargaining agreement

The city council approved the first collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters 117 non-uniformed police managers, including the police support services manager, jail manager, dispatch manager and police records supervisor.

Negotiations since January have led to the current agreement, which consists of a 1-year contract with the city and non-uniformed police managers, a 4% increase in pay for the cost of living adjustment and a retirement program called Teamsters Retirees’ Welfare Trust Plus Plan, fully funded by employees.

According to the bill, the costs to implement this agreement are in the 2023-2024 biennial budget and the mid-biennium budget adjustment. The salary ranges will be in the future adjustment to the Master Salary ordinance.

Downtown Issaquah. File photo

Downtown Issaquah. File photo