Sammamish, in surprise move, adopts a building moratorium to deal with traffic concurrency

Deputy Mayor Christie Malchow

The Sammamish City Council, in a surprise move, unanimously adopted a building moratorium for six months to make time to sort out the traffic concurrency problems that emerged in June.

The item was not on the agenda. Deputy Mayor Christie Malchow introduced the ordinance declaring an emergency to adopt the moratorium. Member Tom Odell seconded.

She said it became clear in a study session Monday night and in previous meetings that staff process was “trumping” policy.

Underlying assumptions in Table T-8 in the Comprehensive Plan can’t be addressed until the next update in a year. T-8 details traffic counts and other data.

Council member comments

Odell said that the City needed to take a pause.

“We need to take a thorough vetting of how we count traffic. The assumptions we are using in the model are perhaps questionable and flawed,” Odell said. “Until we get our arms around this thing and understand how this works, we need to take a time out.”

Member Don Gerend, who is largely seen as the leading property rights advocate on the Council, supported the moratorium.

“Generally, I’m opposed to emergency ordinances because of money spent and then have the rug pulled out from under them. It’s important to note that any applications submitted, even if incomplete, will be processed.”

“I am supporting this reluctantly,” said Member Tom Hornish. “I take it seriously that we have to balance growth…but there are so many moving pieces we and the staff have to get our arms around. We can change the moratorium, modify it within six months and we can even repeal it within six months.

“This gives us a laser focus of what we need to do in this city for concurrency,” Hornish said.

“The council does not take this lightly,” Malchow said. “This pause is much needed.”

“I support this motion, but more than reluctantly,” said Mayor Bob Keller. “I’ve been through a moratorium in the past. What started as a six-month moratorium wound up extending for years. When the moratorium was lifted, the economy went south and people who waited couldn’t sell their land. We have an obligation to act quickly. Maybe it’s something that we have to pass on to the new council to get done quickly.”

Don’t expect visible changes soon

Lyman Howard, the city manager, said there is already a two-year pipeline that is full. There will be a lag before the effect of the moratorium effect can be seen.

There are several exemptions to the moratorium in addition to the projects that are vested (those for which applications have been filed). Any structure damaged by fire or natural disaster is exempt. School and other public projects, affordable housing and transit projects (such as a park and ride) are exempt.

 

11 thoughts on “Sammamish, in surprise move, adopts a building moratorium to deal with traffic concurrency”

  1. Yes, It’s about time that the citizens of Sammamish have a voice that will be heard !! Developers have been raping this city for way too long. It’s time for the citizens to “take back our City”.

  2. “It’s important to note that any applications submitted, even if incomplete, will be processed.”

    “I am supporting this reluctantly,” said Member Tom Hornish.

    “I support this motion, but more than reluctantly,” said Mayor Bob Keller.

    This is sending a strong message to developers. You just have to read it closely to understand what that message really is.

  3. it is impressive to see how some councilmembers believe they have any fiduciary duties with the citizens. They do not. It is not their duty to make sure citizens make money. It is their duty to take care of the city.

  4. Finally. The residents are fed up with this uncontrolled pace of growth that is tuning everything that was unique about Sammamish, from displacing wildlife to traffic congestion to property tax hikes. Thank you Council.

  5. Too little, too late, but something is better than nothing. Perhaps a review of those permit applications in the “pipeline” should be closely reviewed to determine whose permit could be pulled. Waiting two years will result in a significant increase in traffic. Stop it NOW!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s