The idea may have some merit; only a thorough discussion and perhaps some study will make this determination.
Tactically, Valderrama’s timing and forum was a bad idea.
Tipping your hand to developers
He effectively served notice to the development community that they better rush and file building applications before the prospect of adopting a moratorium becomes reality.
Council member Kathy Huckabay was right. Advice from the City Attorney whether there is even a legal basis for a moratorium needed to be explored in executive session.
Council Member Tom Odell was right when he characterized the suggestion as Ready, Fire, Aim.
Before Sammamish incorporated, the citizens group SHOUT pressed King County government, which had jurisdiction at the time, for a moratorium. The County ultimately refused, leaving adoption to the new City Council in 1999.
But the very suggestion for a moratorium then caused a proverbial gold rush to the then-Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) to file permit applications. Once filed, these projects became vested. This means that these projects were unaffected by a moratorium.
City Manager Lyman Howard predicted that there will be such a rush of permit applications during the 60-day period Valderrama suggests for study.
Moratorium for the Town Center
Starting with the Town Center is also a bad idea. Development is already underway, after having been stalled for nearly 10 years due to the global recession.
Huckabay suggested a moratorium for the erosion hazard areas may make sense. This seems to be a no-brainer.
Whatever the merits of the idea, the surprise, the lack of full thought, the lack of realizing unintended consequences all make how this evolved to be a mistake.
The City should be prepared for the gold rush of permit applications.
Citizens should be prepared for more development sooner than later as a result.