New battle brewing over Ebright Creek development

Wally Pereyra, gearing up for a new land use appeal over development affecting Ebright Creek.

A tiny, two-home short plat is at the heart of what’s likely to be another appeal to protect environmentally sensitive Ebright Creek.

The Sammamish City Staff Monday approved development “to subdivide one parcel comprising approximately 2.97 acres into two single-family residential lots. The site is located to the east of Ebright Creek, west of the Greenbriar subdivision. The site is constrained by the buffer of a Type F stream (Ebright Creek) and landslide hazard area buffers.”

The applicants, Clifford and Pauline Cantor, first filed for development 16 years ago.

At issue is a drainage pipe installed before Sammamish became a city that was never permitted by King County or the State along with a drainage easement through the property at 627 208th Avenue SE that allows drainage from the adjacent subdivision.

Wally Pereyra, who lives along Ebright Creek downstream by East Lakes Sammamish Parkway, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars restoring the creek and protecting the threatened Kokanee salmon, for which Ebright is a prime spawning area.

Pereyra, through his attorney Richard Aramburu, wrote the City Oct. 30, 2015, notifying staff of the drainage pipe and of the history of its installation.

Aramburu’s letter went unanswered and largely ignored until City Council Members Ramiro Valderrama and Christie Malchow began making inquiries of the staff last year, according to emails obtained by Sammamish Comment under the Public Records Act.

Eventually—this year—City Manager Lyman Howard directed City Attorney Michael Kenyon to review Aramburu’s letter and make a determination of the specific legal issues raised by Pereyra’s lawyer.

As of last week, when the City provided the first data dump to The Comment pursuant to the Public Records Request, Kenyon was still reviewing Aramburu’s letter. He was also reviewing emails and other documents to determine whether these are exempt from the PRR.

The Cantor project is only the latest in a series of developments that Pereyra fears will harm Ebright Creek and the Kokanee, which are native to Lake Sammamish and which spawn in Ebright, Zackuse and Laughing Jacobs creeks.

Since incorporation in 1999, development of Ebright Creek Park on 212th, Chestnut Estates, Chestnut Estates East, Chestnut Estates West, the Sammamish Library, the Town Center, the Sammamish Community Center and City Hall are among projects that have drawn scrutiny and in some cases appeals. Several appeals were either funded by or filed by Pereyra.

Although the Cantor project is only two homes, the presence of the unpermitted drainage pipe and the easement to the neighboring development sparked Pereyra’s attention.

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