Details of the Ace Development Plan and the initial Staff Response rejecting the plan

Here are the details of the proposal by Ace and a land-owner to develop property immediately south of the Starbucks at NE 4th St. The plan involves a land-swap between the City and the property owner.

The key issue is that both parcels are highly constrained by wetlands, George Davis Creek, and buffers. The property owned by the developer is considered unbuildable due to wetlands. The City property has some buildable land but officials consider it too small for the Ace project. It’s also currently used for two storm water retention ponds.

The Ace proposal calls for swapping the ownership, with Ace rebuilding the ponds on the swapped property. The full, five page proposal is here: AcePlan120412.

City staff analyzed the proposal, which was originally submitted as a “Docket Request” for an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Ace’s attorney said the submission was merely a placeholder and the proposal they want considered is a Development Agreement, as outlined in the PDF linked above. But below is the City Staff’s response to the Docket Request, recommending the City Council reject the request.

KinderAce LLC-Michael Reid and Associates: The applicant requested a development code amendment to Chapter 21A.20.070, Retail Land Uses to allow for building, hardware and garden stores in the Office zone. A vacant parcel (3425069032) and city owned stormwater ponds parcel (3425069053), both zoned Office, have been identified by the applicant as potential building site for a hardware/garden store. The applicant indicated that there is a lack of available Community Business and Neighborhood Business zoned properties which allow for the specific land use of “building hardware and garden materials”.

Staff Response: The applicant’s request is tied to a specific building site that is heavily constrained by critical areas, part of which is currently owned by the City. George Davis Creek flows on the north side of the site with a 150 foot buffer requirement extending south across the site. There is an unmapped boundary of the Category 1 East Lake Sammamish #9 wetland with a 215 foot buffer abutting the eastern side of the existing storm water pond. The 215 foot buffer extends west across the proposed development site. The boundary of a high-function, but unclassified, wetland abuts the southern boundary of the site. The buffer for this wetland would extend to the north across the site. There is very little, if any, developable area, and therefore the site would not be capable of supporting development of a hardware/garden store. Also, such community-scale retail uses are outside the intent of the Office zone. Staff met with the applicant group in October and November to discuss the KinderAce proposal, and to review any potential viable options for locating a hardware/garden center store in Sammamish, both within and outside of land zoned Community Business. Given the significant zoning and environmental hurdles and limited timeframe to work with, staff recommends not advancing this proposal in the 2013 docket.

A decision by the City Council whether to proceed with consideration of the Development Agreement is slated for the Dec. 11 City Council meeting.

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