Sammamish Mayor Christie Malchow took a public stand on
Tuesday against a years old mantra by former councils and former administrations that the “GMA mandates growth.”
In a comment made on a Facebook post on Tueday, Malchow referenced an interview she had with KIRO radio, in which she came out against the years old “head in sand:”
“I hope that this discussion that we’re having will lead us down the path of actually doing something about it, rather than just putting our head in the sand and saying ‘we can’t do anything about it.” – says Malchow said to Kiro radio.
From Malchow’s Facebook comment:
“If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on related to concurrency and the moratorium, let me shine some light on it. I was on the losing end of a vote that exempted E. Lake Sammamish Parkway from concurrency all together on 7/17/18. In doing so it allows us to basically ignore the road and allow unfettered numbers of cars to drive down it without requiring fixes to it.
“I am not favorable to a head in the sand approach. So if the adage is true, that we “can’t fix the parkway”, then we better look at some alternative solutions to allow growth. I don’t disagree with those that say we shouldn’t continue to build, because we have to fix the problems that exist in order to allow more cars on roads like ELSP.
That is what the GMA is for, that is what concurrency says. I believe the law is on my side when I say that.
It doesn’t say grow it all costs. In fact, the law states you HAVE to set a level of service for all arterials (and ELSP is a minor arterial). I don’t think it can be exempted. But I was in a minority position & so it’s the will of the Council, not just my viewpoint that matters. “
Malchow references a vote held earlier this month to exempt East Lake Sammamish Parkway from concurrency because it’s failing and cannot be fixed. Similar discussions regarding Sahalee Way and 244th Ave are still pending. Not exempting the parkway would mean an effectively long term moratorium on new development until the roads can be fixed.
Council Members Ramiro Valderrama and Pam Stuart argued strongly to exempt it.
At the end, the council voted 5-2 to exempt the parkway. Malchow and Tom Hornish opposed.
At the background of all this is the Town Center project, with it’s commercial space and 2,200 housing units, that is pending approval. As long as roads fail concurrency, the Town Center cannot move forward.
Valderrama, Stuart and Jason Ritchie are strong supporters of the Town Center project. Hornish and Malchow supported it on condition that it passes concurrency.