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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
January 14, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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January 14, 2009

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2009 A3 BY GREG FARIAI Patches of hillside above Southeast Black Nugget Road show pronounced signs of slippage Jan. 9 above the Fred Meyer store. To the right are the Harnptons Pointe Townhomes in the Issaquah Ridge neighborhood. Localized landslide raising concerns BY DAVID HAYES Residents have expressed their concern about a section of hill that seems to be sliding down toward Black Nugget Road above the Fred Meyer department store. Sheldon Lynne, deputy director of the city's Public Works Engineering Department, said city officials have had their eye on the land for more than a year. "It is basically a localized, small- scale landslide," he said. "It started in January of 2008 and has been doing what we've anticipated -- moving here and there based on the weather. "We don't expect an event where it all comes crashing down," he added. The land is private property owned by the nonprofit group Way Back Inn, which provides housing for homeless families with chil- dren. Officials with Way Back Inn could not be reached for comment for this story. Lynne said city officials contact- ed the group last year about the encroaching hillside, saying any- thing that needs to be done to shore it up is Way Back Inn's responsibility. The retaining wall and the roadway below belong to the city. Lynne said in the unlikely event that should the landslide snowball and spill over the retaining wall and into the roadway, city workers would respond to the immediate incident. "We'd make sure the retaining wall was safe and the road was safe to use again," he said. "Then, we'd have discussions with Way Back Inn about their responsibili- ties for reimbursing the city." Lynne said to ensure that sce- nario doesn't happen, it's Way Back Inn's responsibility to contact private structural engineers to see if there is anything that needs to be done. The section of hillside experienc- ing the landslide is far enough north so as not to have any affect on the nearby condominiums at Hampton's Point on Issaquah Ridge. Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress, com. McCarry, Butler elected to council leadership posts City Councilwoman Maureen McCarry was elected council presi- dent by her peers at the council's Jan. 5 meeting. Following her elec- tion, the council then selected City Councilman Fred Buffer  deputy president! "The president sets the'policy, and reviews and approves the council agenda," McCarry said. She is also a member of the Council Land Use Committee, the Committee of the Whole Council and the board of directors of Eastside Fire & Rescue. The mayor calls for nominations for council president. When all nom- inations have been made, a motion to close nominations is made. The mayor calls for a vote on a motion to close nominations. Council mem- bers then cast votes for nominees by a show of hands. The nominee receiving the majority is declared the new council president. The pro- cedure is repeated for electing the council deputy president. Butler has served as both presi- dent and deputy president in his nine years on the council. "I enjoy being on council leader- ship and setting the council agen- da," he said. He is also a member of the Council Utilities and Council Transportation committees and the Committee of the Whole Council. The council president and deputy president also assign com- mittee assignments. Both serve in those capacities for the rest of the year. McCarry's term ends Dec. 31. Butler's term ends Dec. 31, 2011. Maumn McCuny Fred Butler WHATTO KNOW Contact Maureen McCarry at 313-9313 or maureenm@ci.issaquah.wa. Contact Fred Butler at 392- 5775 or fredb@ci.issaquah.wa. Join a brand new YMCA that combines a state-of-the-art facility with a friendly community atmosphere. We've created a gathering place where members of all ages can develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body. Become a Charter Member today and receive 100% off the joining fee, early access to the facility, priority registration for programs and more! Visit 12635 SE St, Bellevue 98006, 425.644.8417, seattleymca.org/coalcreek Watch the YMCA grow! See the new YMCA at our construction site, 13750 Newcastle Golf Club Road, Renton 98059 Everyone is Welcome. Financial Assistance is available to the extent possible. The YMCA of Greater Seattle is a charitable, non-profit membership organization serving King and south Snohomish Counties since 1876. Committee approves exemption I,, I :ansportation impact fee Change wouM make BY JIM FEEHAN Vacant storefronts in the city could soon see some tenants after the City Council Land Use Committee approved an agenda bill Jan. 8 that would exempt up to 10,000 square feet of commer- cial development proposals from the city's transportation impact fees. Business owners said the fees were burdensome and prohibited them from finding tenants. The measure also reflects the removal of the once-proposed Southeast Bypass from the fee schedule. The proposed update of the impact fee includes a $1.6 mil- lion reduction in the city's finan- cial contribution toward the road- way capacity projects list. With the adjustments, the impact fee rate declines from about $4,800 to $3,300, a reduction of 32 per- cent. "This agenda bit is exactly what we need to help us move for- ward for getting a great tenant for our space, which is challenging in these times," said Rebecca Knowles, owner of Front Street Market and the former Lewis Hardware store on Front Street. About $40,000 in fees would have been levied on the operators of any new business at the hard- ware store site, she said. "We actually had two tenants in particular who looked at our loca- tenants easier to find for large storefronts tion and decided that those fees would be extraordinary, and they found other places," she added. The state's Growth Management Act authorizes cities to charge impact fees to help assure that pub- lic facilities are available to serve new development. Issaquah's transportation impact fees were first adopted in 1997 and updated in 2006. The fees are paid by devel- opers of new projects to offset the city s cost of providingadditional service, but they are also charged to tenants who change the use of an existing building. Greg Spranger, executive direc- tor or the DownTown Issaquah Association, applauded the com- mittee's action, saying it's needed to help the vitality of the down- town. "This issue rose up because the DownTown Association and many of the business owners said, 'Our hands are tied,'" Spranger said. "We're going to have empty spaces here or we're going to get a business that is not appropriate for what we're trying to do in the downtown." Mitigation fees are astronomi- cal and stunt business growth in the city, he said. "Somebody's dream of coming forward and taking their grand- mother's recipes and starting a restaurant or whatever the busi- ness may be, it's just blast out because of the initial cost of going in for the fees," he said. While most of the attention has been focused on the downtown core, Planning Director Mark Hinthorne said the agenda bill would apply to other parts of the city. In addition, a 30,000- square-foot space broken into three 10,000-square-foot spaces would also qualify, he said. "By dividing the lots up, it's more likely you'll have tenant improvements in smaller lots," said Maureen McCarry, a member of the Council Land Use Committee. Fellow committee member John Rittenhouse agreed that the agenda bill should apply citywide raS a matter of fairness to all busi- nesses. "This will help our small busi- nesses during these tough eco- nomic times," he said. Downtown property owner Keith Watts applauded the com- mittee's action. "I'm glad they're doing it city- wide. Of course, my focus is Front Street. But this should be city- wide," he said. "The City Council is te,lling everybody,, 'We support you, and we dont hear that enough from our City Council." The agenda bill now goes before the full City Council Jan. 20 for further consideration. Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or ffeehan@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquah- press, com. Ro00dey: Picketers are protesting wrong site Picketers who have off and on picketed near the Hilton Garden Inn are misinformed, according to Rowley Property officials. The picketing is an action designed to draw attention to a labor dispute with a hotel project in Bothell. But that project and Rowley, and the Hilton Garden Inn, are unrelated, said Rowley spokeswoman Kristi Tripple. "We are saddened and disap- pointed that the union has chosen to disrupt the operations of our hotel and other nearby business- es with the sole intent of publiciz- ing its dispute, of which we are not a party," Tripple said. "Rowley Properties has absolute- ly no connection with Bothell hotel's construction or the selec- tion of contractors or subcontrac- tors." The picketers first gathered Dec. 8 to protest the hiring of a subcontractor at the Bothell Hilton Garden Inn location. The group, representing the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, was protesting the hiring of Paras Concrete, a concrete subcontrac- tor, for the Bothell Hilton Garden Inn project. But the only thing the two have in common are the name brand they share. "We respect the group's right to picket. However, our owner- ship does not control the Bothell Hilton Garden Inn hotel fran- chise, nor do we have any control in the hiring of contractors to that property," said Will Parkinson, general manager. "It's important to be clear the Bothell property is not part of our hotel ownership." Paras Concrete never worked on the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah while the project was under construction. ht here in Issaquah! This is a great time to buy or refinance! 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