By Scott Hamilton
The issue is on the council’s agenda tomorrow night.
Tamarack has been subject to increasingly damaging storm water runoff as development uphill from the subdivision, which is sited on a downhill slope off Thompson Hill Road, flows through the neighborhood.
Erosion over the years
Some erosion of Tamarack properties was reported to the council on several occasions when homeowners appeared during public comment sessions. Resident Mary Wictor has been a regular during these sessions over the years, pointing out damage and hazards caused by the storm water drainage originating from homes and subdivisions approved by King County before city incorporation and by the city after incorporation.
Concern over storm water flowing unchecked into Lake Sammamish also has been voiced. Contaminants in the runoff can cause environmental damage, citizens claimed.
In 2016, the council punted stepping up to address the runoff. Debate swirled around using taxpayer dollars for privately-originating storm water runoff despite the city’s role (and the county’s before it) in approving development with what turned out to be inadequate runoff protection.
Minor city action
A contract was approved in 2016 for Downstream Analysis with modeling detention options plus Phase 1 public drainage easements. However, turnover of City staff halted this work before completion.
City action, as outlined in Tuesday’s agenda packet, included:
- In 2013, as part of emergency repair actions to reduce the risk of additional landslides, City crews installed an overland tightline pipe on private property from 209th Ave NE to 208th Ave NE.
- From 2010 to 2016, the City Council funded studies and preliminary engineering plans to evaluate drainage issues in the area. However, final engineering plans and construction were not funded due to the Council’s desire to complete the Zackuse Basin Plan which would give a holistic view of basin-wide problems and solutions.
- In 2016, the City Council discussed ways in which partial funding could potentially be provided by the City with the private property owners paying most of the cost through a Local Improvement District (LID). This was deemed not feasible due to the unlikely approval by the property owners.
- In 2017, the City’s insurer approved a monetary settlement with two private property owners in the Tamarack neighborhood for drainage problems related to the City’s emergency repairs in 2013.
Wictor virtually lobbied the council throughout 2015 for a solution. Then-Mayor Tom Vance, a self-avowed environmentalist, failed to lead the council to any action or solution that year.