Second Sammamish council member says focus growth in Town Center, dodges property rights issues

By Scott Hamilton

A second Sammamish city council member went on record, declaring that

Jason Ritchie

Jason Ritchie

future growth should “focus” on the Town Center.

Jason Ritchie Tuesday joined Member Pam Stuart in calling for future growth to go to the Town Center.

As Sanmamsih Comment wrote Oct. 22, suggesting that future development be directed to the Town Center raises a host of questions.

The Comment posed these to Ritchie. He wrote back, “I’m happy with my statement as is. Nothing more to add at this point. I’ll be working with my fellow council members and their positions to find compromise and a path forward.”

Key Questions

The Ritchie and Stuart view, without clarifications, could pose financial risk and constitutional questions to Sammamish property owners who want to develop outside the Town Center.

Here is what The Comment asked Ritchie.

Your written statement [Tuesday] night said you support focusing mandated growth on the Town Center.

  • How do you propose to do this? The zoning from the Comp Plan has been established for many years. By “focusing mandated growth” on the Town Center, this can be interpreted as focusing growth to the exclusion of elsewhere in the city. Is this what you mean?
  • If not, what do you mean?
  • If it is, are you proposing down-zoning elsewhere in the city and transferring development rights to the Town Center?
  • If you advocate downzoning, when do you propose doing this and how would you do so to avoid a “taking” under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution?
  • Who would compensate property owners for such a taking?
  • Would the city buy-and-bank TDRs?

Stuart previously said steering growth to the Town Center is environmentally friendly. But, like Ritchie, she ignored the practical issues and the realities on the ground.

Ritchie’s full statement from Tuesday’s council meeting is here: Ritchie Statement

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