Sammamish delivers punch to King County over ELST

July 5, 2016: Sammamish handed King County a strong left hook to the jaw tonight when the City Council voted to withdraw from a 12-year Inter-Local Agreement (ILA) section involving the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST).

Fed up with complaints from property owners and increasing tension between City and County officials over how the County has developed the trail, the City Council’s move to cancel the ILA means Sammamish now has complete control over approving Section 2B of the ELST.

Section 2B is the center section, from the 7-11 to Inglewood Hill Road. Section 1, north of Inglewood to the Redmond city limits, is complete. Section 2A development is under appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board, which is now deliberating. A decision is expected this fall.

Canceling the ILA

Canceling the ILA has been a campaign of Ramiro Valderrama, now deputy mayor, for two years, beginning when he was City Council Member. Valderrama, who is the Council’s leading advocate for the property owners along the trail, got no traction with last year’s Council. Then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay opposed withdrawal. They were backed at the time by the majority of the Council, in the hopes that disagreements could be negotiated to satisfactory resolutions. The talks failed on some key points. The County appealed the City’s highly conditional permit to the Shoreline Hearings Board, but the City Examiner assumed jurisdiction. He found largely in favor of the County, but the County appealed to the SHB the Examiner’s jurisdiction. Sammamish Home Owners (SHO) also appealed the Examiner’s decision, who ruled against their appeal.

The County’s appeal incensed the Council, which authorized an appeal of the Examiner’s decision over a stop sign and a storm water drainage ruling. This time, the vote was 7-0 to withdraw.

Lyman Howard, the City Manager, said that the County permitting agency has processed the application to the City Code. The City issued the permit. “Honestly, it’s not working. Staff has been spending an inordinate amount of time to do what’s right for our citizens.”

In the future, Sammamish will be the reviewing and regulatory agency rather than liaison between the County and Sammamish citizens. There is a 90-day notice to the County.

Council Member Tom Odell made the motion to terminate the ILA for ELST.

Howard said the City will continue current effort to go back to the County for problem solving for the North and South sections.

11 thoughts on “Sammamish delivers punch to King County over ELST

  1. I am pleased to see us taking this action. I never understood why we bowed to the County on this matter since we were the permitting authority. No we have taken the power of the city back. Wish we could do this on some of the other projects the county permitted before we became a city.

  2. Woh! – Great move! Nice timing too-within that sweet halo zone of Independence Day! (Nothing against the County – just glad Sammamish will step up to do what is right and considerate and won’t tie its hands unnecessarily in serving our city’s interests) Thank you!!!

  3. Thank you so much Sammamish Council for stepping up! Tired of the county bullying its cities in doing whatever they want.

  4. Thank you Sammamish Council for taking control of the process, and representing the wishes of the citizens here. The county has no interest in working with residents, this is a big win for the people who live here.

  5. We appreciate the Sammamish City council doing the right thing for its citizens. King County has been an abusive bully throughout the trail process (going back to 1997) – a bully to the citizens and to the lakeshore environment.

  6. We are in the last section of the completed trail,and feel like were run over by a county bulldozer.We asked for and got the county to put privacy screening on the trail fence,and that helped our privacy immensly.Then the middle of July they removed the screening with no explanation.The county representative scheduled to meet at my house wed. 9/21 at 10:00 a. m. to explain why they removed it.Just want to let you future trail victims know what to expect.Anyone is welcome to show up for support.Jim Fay 3823 E. lake Sammamish Prky. N. E.

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