As drivers sit in traffic, Sammamish ponders up-zoning of Town Center

Even as Sammamish residents scream over traffic congestion, exacerbated over what proved to be fraudulent implementation of a traffic concurrency model intended to be sure the roads can handle growth, efforts are underway to sharply up-size the Town Center.

The Town Center was approved to have 600,000sf of commercial/retail/office space and 2,000 residential units. Transfer Development Rights (TDRs) already boosted the residential units a few hundred above the 2,000.

The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) studied impacts up to 700,000sf and 3,000 units. Anything above this would require a Supplement EIS, Kamuron Gurol, the Community Development Director, said at the time.

The development company, STCA, is working with staff to propose hiking the Town Center by as much as 250,000sf and up to 1,500 more residential units.

STCA is currently developing the Town Center west of 228th Ave.

Significantly more traffic

The changes proposed range from 150,000sf of commercial to 250,000sf and from 1,000 to 1,500 residential units.

The traffic generated by commercial/office/retail space depends on what the use is.

Residential development generates traffic of about 10 trips per day for single-family homes and seven per day for multi-family.

STCA, in a document obtained through a public records request and made available to Sammamish Comment, claims 150,000-200,000sf of office space is needed in Sammamish. It also claims 75,000-100,000sf is required for a hotel and 75,000-100,000sf is needed for an assisted living campus.

This leaves Sammamish 150,000-250,000sf short, STCA claims in the draft document dated last September.

Without knowing the precise breakdown of commercial uses if and when development begins, or the mix of residential housing, it’s impossible to forecast the traffic impacts. But clearly it would be in the thousands of daily trips on roads that already are stressed.

STCA’s draft proposal is only for West of 228th. Construction is underway for projects on the east side of 228th, but these are projects are being developed by other companies.

Comp Plan Change, EIS required

The low-end commercial addition exceeded the current EIS. The low-end residential units—1,000—also exceed the 3,000 units on which the EIS is based because Sammamish acquired TDRs from King County and placed them within the Town Center, exceeding the 2,000 units planned for development. Anything over 700,000sf of commercial and 3,000 residential units requires a Supplemental EIS.

This is an arduous and often lengthy process, subject to public input and potential appeal.

Proposed changes would require changes to the Comprehensive Plan. This may be considered annually. A “Docket Request” is needed and is submitted, in Sammamish’s case, in September. The Planning Commission must review the requests and make recommendations to the City Council. The Council may accept, reject or overrule the Commission recommendations. If the Council green-lights the Docket Requests, a process begins that also includes public input. This, too, may be arduous. Comp Plan changes aren’t typically subject to appeal.

Paul Stickney, a resident who owns property in the Town Center, advocates reopening the Town Center plan to as many as 8,000 residential units. He is not affiliated with STCA.

City reception

Documents made available to Sammamish Comment dating to September reveal that STCA already has met with some or all of the Council Members. Emails show positive reception from Ramiro Valderrama and Jason Ritchie.

“I appreciate the time you took to meet with the individual council members to review the plans for the town center in Sammamish,” Ritchie wrote in a Feb. 15 email. “I hope you know that I’m a strong supporter. I know time is critical. If you are available, I’d like to meet with you to discuss possible steps forward. Please let me know your availability.”

Other Council Members are said to have favorable impressions.

Lifting the moratorium

The City Council is expected to consider lifting the building moratorium in the coming weeks. The Town Center is currently included in the moratorium, for development not already vested.

Save Sammamish

The citizen group Save Sammamish meets at 7pm tonight at the Klahanie Fire Station (the one by the round-about by Sunny Hill School on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road). This will be discussed.

10 thoughts on “As drivers sit in traffic, Sammamish ponders up-zoning of Town Center

  1. I know of no current discussions for upcoming the Town Center. Contrary to the article – I know of no emails or comments where I state I am was or am in favor of up zoning. Likewise I know of no emails stating that I was in favor of injection etc – nor that there is even any such proposal made. Based on my call this morning with Scott he did not cite having any such email from me citing these.

  2. Again instead of inferring – have you seen any email of me supporting upcoming? Or a proposal for injection and much less my support for it? Thanks

    • Again, instead of dodging, bobbing and weaving which has become your norm since running for the State House of Representatives right through the flip flop on the moratorium and the injection issue, citing support when there was none, how about making a Sherman-like declaration: do or do you not support upzoning in any form in the Town Center? Do you or do you not understand the differences between injection and infiltration? Do you or do you not oppose injection in any form?

      Given your history of flip flops and ambiguity since 2016, one has to fall back on preponderance of evidence.

  3. Scott you cited -contrary to the article you did not have emails from me in support of up zoning or injection. Sherman like I have publicly stated many times I am against injections into the aquifer and have stated I am not for up zoning. Always glad to share my positions

  4. City staff are in an inherent conflict of interest: to keep their jobs, they have to keep approving more and more development, which leads them into the arms of developers who only have their own interests at stake.

    This conflict has been apparent for some time and is getting worse. One example is the fact that City staff hides the amount of development that is occurring, much of which does not appear on the city’s website. I have counted numerous developments that never appear on the radar, which allows them to evade citizen scrutiny and then sneak through.

    The amount of development going on in the city center far exceeds the ability of the roads and related services to handle the number of car trips that are being forced on us. Backups at stop signs and stop lights cannot be alleviated by simply increasing traffic circles all over Southeast 4th. Already Southeast 4th is at maximum capacity and hundreds more of units are being forced into the pipeline by City staff who are on the side of Developers. An unfortunate conclusion, but it appears the only conclusion that can be reached from the evidence. then, we have to fund more schools for the more kids that come with all of the more housing and the developers skip town with their bags of cash and City staff keeps their jobs. Then start the process all over again…

    I do not know what other conclusion you can reach from the evidence that is in front of us. There is no other reason for the amount of development that is being forced down our throats. Say goodbye to the much hyped “best place to live” that we once had but have now utterly squandered and lost….

  5. Pingback: Council quietly killed STCA plans out of public view last year | Sammamish Comment

  6. Pingback: Why I support the Town Center | Sammamish Comment

  7. Pingback: Sammamish’s Town Center-concurrency dilemma | Sammamish Comment

  8. Pingback: STCA wanted to upzone by 42%-68% in 2017 – Sammamish Comment

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