Boundary Review Board approves Issaquah’s Klahanie annexation vote

October 11, 2013

By Peter Clark

New: Oct. 11, 12:27 p.m.

In quick order, the King County Boundary Review Board unanimously gave preliminary approval to Issaquah’s annexation request for the Klahanie area Oct. 10.

Klahanie, a triangular wedge of unincorporated King County, borders Sammamish on two sides and Issaquah on the third. State law assumes that at some point one city or the other will absorb the area, home to more than 10,000 people.

Only Issaquah has the right to, but Sammamish also wants it. Issaquah is in the midst of attempting to annex Klahanie, and the decision by the Boundary Review Board is a step in the process.

Two long meetings were held last month where government representatives from Issaquah and Sammamish were joined by a slew of public opinion on the proposed annexation. The Boundary Review Board took the information given and returned with a decision for Klahanie voters to vote on whether Issaquah should include them in its borders.

“None of these are easy,” Board member Robert Cook said as the board held informal discussion before a vote. “And a couple factors gave us some sleepless nights. The overriding fact is that the city of Issaquah is responding to a petition of residents that want to be a part of the city. They did what they were asked to do by the citizenry. They did what they are mandated to do by state law. There really aren’t any losers in this, because the citizens will vote on this and determine their own fate. It’s kind of a win-win.”

The “factors” that might have led to sleepless nights for the board members included opposition from the city of Sammamish and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

During the public hearing last month, Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell made the case that potential annexation areas, mandated by the Growth Management Act, were drawn before the consolidation of his city. He asked for a reconsideration of the boundaries to include the Klahanie area within Sammamish’s potential annexation area. The Boundary Review Board was sympathetic to the view, but did not have the power to act on it.

“We had a number of requests to reassign this potential annexation area to the city of Sammamish,” Board Chairwoman Mary Lynne Evans said. “We are not authorized to change the potential annexation status. The Growth Management Planning Council is the body to address this.”

Other concerns raised in the public hearing revolved around Sammamish warning there could be reduced fire protection should annexation occur, and the Water and Sewer District cautioning that Issaquah did not provide correct facts about utility service in light of its exploration to assume district wells.

Board member Sylvia Bushnell said assumptions should be expected under the Growth Management Act and chastised the district for drawing undeserved attention.

“The water district issue also bothered me,” Bushnell said. “I felt it was a red herring thrown out there. It’s appropriate for Issaquah to contemplate controlling its water resources.”

As for fire service, Evans had sharp words for Sammamish in regards to EFR complaints about being used as “a pawn.” Sammamish is considering withdrawing from the regional Eastside Fire & Rescue consortium. Should the Klahanie area go to Issaquah and it leave EFR, Sammamish has said it will likely close nearby Fire Station 83, which provides most of the fire and EMS services to the area.

“I looked very carefully at the fire district,” Evans said. “Firefighters did not want Fire Station 83 to ‘become a pawn’ in this discussion. And I totally agree. I think it’s reprehensible to make those services a pawn in this consideration.”

There is a 30-day window for appeals to be lodged against the board’s decision. Should its approval stand, a vote of Klahanie citizens will most likely occur in a February 2014 special election.

“If they don’t wish to join, the vote will tell that,” Evans said of Klahanie area residents. “I think the vote is the most important thing. I think the vote is the right thing to do.”

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2 Responses to “Boundary Review Board approves Issaquah’s Klahanie annexation vote”

  1. Julie Pai on October 11th, 2013 2:48 pm

    We have lived in the Sammamish area for more than ten years. (North Triangle) First on 232nd Ave. SE, and then on 33rd St. We do our grocery shopping, library, cleaners, doctors, etc. on the Plateau. Our friends are here, our garden club, hiking clubs are here. Our volunteering activities are here. We feel we are a part of Sammamish. We have also been very happy with the services provided by the City of Sammamish.

    In the early 2000’s we moved from Bellevue when we needed a one level house because of my husband’s health condition. We found a rambler on the Plateau. We did our research before buying. We liked Sammamish and were impressed. We moved again after four years because the house was too small. However we were quite surprised to learned that our second location on SE 33rd is a part of unincorporated King County and not Sammamish, although it is in the same neighborhood. It seems odd. I remember even one Sammamish Councilmember was surprised then to learn that we were not a part of Sammamish since our area seemed like an integral part of the Plateau.

    Aside from our sense of belonging and of our activities, geographically we are surrounded by Sammamish and not by Issaquah. Issaquah is too remote for us. It does not seem sensible to let the “Greater Klahanie” influence/decide where the residents in the Upper Triangle should go. We need to decide for our selves regardless of what Klahanie thinks.

    Furthermore, we should have the right to decide to whom we want to pay our taxes to and decide who can service our needs better. We have the right to evaluate the performance of the cities and decide whom we like better and not be forced into a city.

    I do not know enough about Growth Management Act/Plan but feel it should be updated periodically to reflect all the changes occurring, and to incorporate not only physically conditions but also that of changes in population, and what the residents want. Officers of King County are again too “remote” to appreciate our situation.

  2. S.Kenneth Pai on October 11th, 2013 11:23 pm

    I am a resident in the “I Tiangle North”, and I am speaking to the unfair actions taken a and being taken by the city of Issaquah and others. If I opposed, the
    Result of the Feb. vote by the PAA’s residents may turn out to be not the true wishes of the people because they have not been properly informed.
    Here is why:
    1, the Triangle does not border on or even near Issaqhuah. Instead, it touches on and is surrounded by the city of sammamish on three sides.
    2, the “Triangle” is in fact a pocket of houses on a dead end street with only one way of egress — one that opens to neiborhood shopping, community facilities, and a major park-and-ride station to Bellevue, Seattle, Sea-Tac Airport and residential areas points north (Kirkland, Redmonds, etc).
    3, to gain access to the PAA from other parts of Issaquah there are only two ways: Klahanie Drive SE via SE Issaqhuah – Fall City Rd, and via E Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE to SE Klahanie Blvd.
    4, just about all residences within the PAA can be reached from the above points. The only exception is residents who live in the “Triangle”. Nor do they need or could traverse the maze of curvy dead-end lanes in the PAA to reach downtown issaquah.
    5, it is self evident from the above facts that the “Triangle” is not the same as Klahanie or any other parts of the PAA, and should be treated accordingly, namely, reach out to its residents and conduct an opinion survey to determine their preferences.

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