Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama sprung a surprise on the Sammamish City Council Sept. 13 when he suggested a study over 60 days for a building moratorium, starting with the Town Center.
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.
If not a moratorium, what?
We must come up with viable solutions to stop this madness! Once a property is developed, IT IS PERMANENT! Let’s promulgate zoning laws and rules that make sense in terms of safety, footprint, aesthetics, environmental and erosional impact, infrastructure funding such as for schools, roads, etc. After which, let’s have a qualified, committed, and properly-staffed government to enforce the wish of the PEOPLE!
This should not become a race between property owners and developers cashing in, versus government’s unpreparedness to manage it, in accordance with the wish of the people!
The “madness” was created by Gerend, Huckabay, Keller, and Odell. HOW can we ask the same people who messed up our city to fix it?
I understand that by law so much growth has to happen… however they have done it wrong. They have given permits to developers that have made our city look horrible. eg: Highcroft (they even allowed Highcroft to take down trees that covered the water tanks, leaving ONE.
Wouldn’t it be nice to but a moratorium on all building permits from developers until they are out of the city council in 2017?
Ironic that the person that posted on Facebook that there would be “contentious” content about the agenda at the Study Session (mostly Stormwater Design Manual and other decidedly NOT contentious topics) was the person that brought up a DIFFERENT, off topic and knowingly contentious topic (in front of the press). You might think that person was campaigning for office or something.
Ummm… YEA! Of course he has to bring it up in public in front of the press… the four vote him out on every idea he has. Kudos for him for listening to the citizens and doing what we want. -How rare in a politician. I hope he runs for Senate and I will endorse and help him.
FIRST OF ALL… You should NOT put the city logo on your blog. It makes uninformed people think you are from the city. Bad form.
I back the moratorium. The city needs a little TIME-OUT from giving permits to developers however, I believe it should be for at least six months and immediately so that developers don’t rush the city staff. –KUDOS for Valderrama for making a motion in front of the fancy four! I am sure he brought it up in front of the press and the public because behind closed doors he is always voted down.
It seems to me like this “Sammamish Comment” is becoming part of the fancy four because some of your posts seem anti-Valderrama. I understand you write this blog, however, I have liked it when you comments were non-partial. Valderrama is speaking for the MAJORITY of the people.
I think I like the “Save Sammamish” FB page better than your blog, as everyone has a voice and no one person takes it over. Your opinions are just that, just as my opinions are mine.
GO Valderrama, Malchow, and Hornish! Thank you for serving our city! As for the F. Four… You will be OUT in a year.
Layna: thanks for your comment. To suggest I’m part of the “Fancy Four” is really quite amusing. But setting that aside, Sammamish Comment tells it like it is (at least as how I see it) and represents an “Independent View of Stuff Happening in Sammamish.” This means exactly that: independence and an independent view. This means when Valderrama, or anyone else, makes a bad call, Sammamish Comment will say so.