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.