John Galvin, one of the landowners in the SE Quadrant, continued to lobby city council members on the Town Center after the public hearings closed September 7, in violation of the rules.
Written submissions closed at 5pm on Sept. 7; additional oral testimony was allowed that evening, but closed when deliberations by the council began. The second email below arrived after deliberations began.
Below are his emails.
From: jegalvin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 12:06 PM
To: Kamuron Gurol
Cc: Don Gerend; Mark Cross; curley john; Nancy Whitten; Michele Petitti; John James; Tom Odell
Subject: Time for staff to tell the truth
All the talk about the town center is pure fantasy. It is time staff told City Council members the truth. Here is the data. If you disagree, then I invite you to put your views on record and demonstrate how this data is incorrect.
To justify the costs of development and to support retail and office development minimum residential densities of 36 units per acre are needed. The town center plan allows densities between 36 units and 40 units per acre but at the same time development caps prevent this from actually happening. Landowners of 38.5 acres of A – zoned land are going to be thrown to the wolves.
Lets do the numbers. This is not the first time I have presented this data but City Council members and staff refuse to acknowledge these fundamental numbers.
There are five mixed-use A-zones with a total of 55.5 acres. Base zoning is medium density 16 units per acre. The Town Center plan allows 36 to 40 units per acre. To go from 16 units to 36 units per acre a developer needs to tap into an incentive pool of 344 units. Incentive units are given in exchange for more affordable housing, trails, open space, and other costly amenities. When the incentive units are used up, a developer can purchase TDRs, “transfered development rights” As yet the city does not have a TDR program.
17 acres of A zoned land out of 55.5 acres will need 340 of the 344 units in the incentive pool. “4” units will be available for the remaining 38.5 acres of A zoned land.
To achieve 36 units per acre the remaining 38.5 acres of mixed-use A -zoned land will need to purchase “770” TDRs.
TDRs might sell between $8,000 and 16,000 per TDR that is between $6,000,000 and $12,000,000 additional cost to a developer. Add impact fees, land costs, building costs a developer will lose his shirt. No financial gain, no developer investment, no town center.
How about the 55 acres of single use B-zoned land?
Zoned at 8 units per acre this land can develop up to 20 units per acre. Since the first 17 acres of A-zone land used up all the incentive pool units, B-zoned land must purchase TDRs to achieve densities that justify development in the Town Center.
How many TDRs will be needed? Between 440 and 660. TDRs in total, between 800 and 1430. All this is not possible, not economically feasible, won’t happen.
The City Council and staff tell landowners, mostly old and like sheep to the slaughter, blind to what is happening, the town center is coming. Well, the only thing coming is higher property taxes.
This City Council completely ignores the data. The Sammamish Town Center is pure fantasy. This fantasy has cost tax payers between $1.5 and $2 million dollars for planning and taken over 200 acres of land from Sammamish Citizens.
Our Note to Readers: Don Gerend has supported Galvin’s proposals to dramatically increase commercial and residential density; John Curley and Gerend were the only two votes in favor of Galvin’s “Docket Request” seeking an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan in which he and his fellow SE Quadrant landowners requested 300,000 sf of commercial space for the Quadrant, more residential density and a total of 1.9 million square feet of commercial space for the entire Town Center so they could get their “proportionate” 300,000 sf of space. Bellevue Square, for comparison, is 1.5 million sf.
From: jegalvin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 9:02 PM
To: Don Gerend; curley john
Cc: Ben Yazici; Kamuron Gurol
Subject: # 2 decision point
Clearly, Michelle didn’t know what she was voting on. It is on tape and will be an issue soon.
Things just get worse and worse. How many people will lose their land because of this?
And, will someone tell Mark Cross what a Local Investment District is all about. It is based on the value of the land and on the ability of the landowners to finance the development, either small projects or big ones. Most landowners are elderly on fixed income. There is no ability to organize a LID which requires a majority buy in.
The reason for concern about tax break is because most of the land in the town center can’t be developed with this plan.
I am going to sell to the Muslims or some other church and the city will never enjoy any tax income.
This continued lobbying of the city council was brought to the attention Tuesday of Ben Yacizi, the city manager, and Bruce Disend, the city attorney. Neither responded to the email requesting a response.