The Sammamish City Council voted 4-3 to not re-appoint Planning Commission chair Shanna Collins to a second term, going against a plea from Master Builders Assoc, the lobby group representing 2,900 builders.
On Tuesday we reported on the planning commission’s vision of densifying Sammamish neighborhoods.
Builders group backed Collins
In a Jan. 15 letter to the city council, requesting the council not to formally adopt the already approved new concurrency rules, Master Builders specifically asked the council to reappoint Collins to the Planning Commission (the commission reviews and makes recommendation on development rules such as concurrency):
“MBAKS [Master Builders] respectfully requests Council not adopt the current proposal to adopt the HCM model, a LOS V/C lower than 1.85 or roadway segment concurrency, HCM or V/C methodology without further analysis from the City’s staff and consultant, Planning Commission review and recommendation (with the retention of the current chair, Ms. Shanna Collins).” (Emphasis added.)
Pro-growth council members back Collins
The council split voted along balanced growth/pro-growth lines, colloquially known as the M4/V3 factions, with council members Ramiro Valderrama, Jason Ritchie and Pam Stuart, that represent the pro-growth faction, voting to retain Collins. While the balanced growth group of council members Christie Malchow, Tom Hornish, Karen Moran and Chris Ross voted to not reappoint Ms. Collins.
Another commissioner abruptly resigns
In a separate and unexpected development, Planning Commissioner Jane Garrison resigned abruptly on Friday, two years before her terms ends. Garrison, along with Collins, was one of the planning commissioners behind the sub-area planning vision of high density housing spread throughout existing neighborhoods in Sammamish
“I take responsibility for not fully understanding the role expected of me when I applied,” she wrote in her Jan. 11 resignation letter. “My main interest is in long-term growth issues that require a vision and a way to implement it. Our meeting format of facing the public and the camera was not conducive to discussion. It was hard to engage others in a meaningful dialogue, expressing our experiences and research. Other members could miraculously function working on policy details and isolated issues that support the City as well as convey those findings to the public. I was not well suited for this task. In fact, I agonized over it.”
The council re-appointed Planning Commission Larry Crandall, who initially was not seeking reappointment, to the remaining two years of Garrison’s term.
Mark Lewis, a retired law enforcement lieutenant and Josh Amato, a digital communication expert, were appointed to four year terms.
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Good riddance! We need to make every single planning committee member disclose their relationship with any builder on every single planning committee report.
Thank you again City council members Malchow, Hornish, Moran and Ross!!
Not to mention, they serve for the Council/City and not to go off and do their own thing.
This once again points out the inherent and pervasive conflict of interest of the City staff responsible for development: if traffic is shown to be already way beyond all reasonable limits (which it is) and the citizens do not want more development (which they do not), then staff levels have to be reduced — because the intensive and rampant growth and upzoning of reasonable-sized parcels into rat mazes will have to come off the table (which means fewer permits, etc., to be processed by staff). Therefore, staff will always side with the developers and not the citizens who pay their salaries via more and more taxes brought on by more and more development.
Take the self-interested developers out of the equation (amazing how they tell the Council what to do, as detailed in the article and elsewhere, in order to line their pockets and leave us with the problems), and perhaps we could get back to making Sammamish livable for its citizens, not the developers (and those whom they improperly influence).
Thank you to Malchow, Hornish, Moran and Ross for taking a stand “for the citizens” of Sammamish on this issue!!
Are we finally seeing some commonsense? The quality of life is slowly dying with the growth plan in place in many cities. All these apartment ghettos are an indication the future looks bleak. Traffic will come to a halt without a solid infrastructure. The greed by the city councils will destroy us. Seattle is no longer the beloved city of choice. IT IS A SEPTIC TANK LOADED WITH TRASH.
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Kudos to the members who stood up for the Sammamish citizens instead of the developers. We do not want to become Seattle Jr. !