Jan. 20, 2016: The Sammamish Hearing Examiner Tuesday rejected the appeal by the Kempton Downs Homeowners Assn. of the Conner-Jarvis project. Approval was given with minor modifications to conditions.
The approval, by Examiner John Gault, was a sweeping victory for Conner-Jarvis and the City’s Development and Public Works departments. Gault ruled that Kempton Downs failed in issue after issue to meet the burden required under state law to overturn the professional judgment of the City’s staff.
State law says that deference to the professionals takes preference. This means that in appeals, the burden of proof that the staff erred is on the appellants.
The homeowners were concerned about cut-through traffic generated from the 115 homes that are part of the development on 42 acres bounded by Issaquah-Pine Lake Road (IPLR), Kempton Downs and other subdivisions. There are three entrances/exits into the proposed development. A large majority of the traffic is forecast to use IPLR, either through direct access or via SE 42nd St., rather than through Kempton Downs.
A number of road variations were granted to the developer, which were appealed by the homeowners association. Gault ruled the group failed to meet its burden that the variances were granted in error.
The association also appealed on environmental grounds. As with the road variations, Gault ruled the group failed to meet its burden.
In some cases throughout the decision, Gault ruled the association just plain got it wrong with their appeal and asserted facts.
The development and the variances became an election issue in the Nov. 3 City Council race, becoming a poster boy for a City that “routinely” issued variations to its own code. Kempton Downs voters gave 80% or more of their votes to electing Ramiro Valderrama, Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish to the City Council. Incumbent Mayor Tom Vance and his allies, Mark Cross and Hank Klein, went down to crushing defeat in the Kempton Downs precinct.