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ISSAQUAH, WA-Issues regarding the annexation of two plateau communities, now set within pockets of unincorporated King County, are embroiled in controversy and hold the potential to change the political climate here.

Tomorrow, the 1,400 residents of Providence Point will cast their yea or nay ballots on the retirement community’s annexation into the city of Issaquah. And, just a few miles south on the Issaquah Plateau, the master-planned community of Klahanie is stuck in a in push-me pull-you battle between its 11,000 residents, Issaquah and the four-year-old city of Sammamish.

Last July, more than three-quarters of Providence Point’s seniors participated in a straw pole. The results–91% of those voted in favor of jointing ranks with Issaquah. But a more controversial question on the ballot is whether the 18-year-old gated community’s property owners should take on a share of the city’s $7.8-million bond debt. If the proposition passes, assessed valuation of Providence Point properties will jump 50 cents per $1,000.

As for the construction of the last few buildings slated for Providence Point, developer Swanson Dean’s project manager, Lamar Hansen, says an Issaquah change of address “won’t affect us.” The permitting process has already been completed through King County.

More lively debates surround the matter of whether Klahanie will ultimately become part of Issaquah or Sammamish. Slated for 2006 annexation by Issaquah, Klahanie is being pushed by some officials toward joining up with Sammamish. A major bone of contention among some. is that annexation of Klahanie (with nearly as many residents as the city) would upset the political apple cart. “It would change the whole political situation in Issaquah,” says annexation opponent, Councilman David Kappler.

But even Kappler had an understanding of the sentiments of many Klanahie residents reluctant to join forces with Sammamish. “There’s a lot of frustration with the political scene in Sammamish.” Nonetheless, the councilman is concerned that the absorption of Klahanie, together with two major developments underway in the city—Issaquah Highlands and Talus–would put too severe of a financial strain on the town. “The cash flow doesn’t work,” says Kappler.

Despite the protests of residents of the plateau neighborhood, Issaquah is stepping toward amending its comprehensive plan to pave the way for Sammamish to lay claim to Klahanie. A forum, hosted by the Issaquah Planning Policy Commission, is set for May 30 to formally begin the necessary public process.

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