In a 4-3 vote, the Sammamish city council voted to water down the interim development regulation adopted two months ago and to exempt 65 lots that were in the pipeline
Deputy Mayor Karen Moran joined Council Members Ramiro Valderrama, Pam Stuart and Jason Ritchie to vote in favor.
City council also voted 6-1 to accept an “MOU” (Memorandum of Understanding) with STCA, the Town Center developer. The effect of accepting the MOU is that STCA can apply for permits for at least 500 units before the work on V/C concurrency is done, likely allowing development of the Town Center under the old method of concurrency.
Council Member Tom Hornish voted against the motion.
The Sammamish Community Center, a $33m facility funded with $28m of Sammamish taxpayers’ money and operated exclusively by the Y, generated at least $1.4m in surplus that is being sent to Seattle Y, raising questions regarding accounting methods.
The Community Center exceeded all expectations set forth in the city’s original plan. The city thought the Community Center will attract 1,750 members, with a monthly membership rates for a family at $68. In reality, more than 5,700 memberships were sold, with monthly membership rates for a family at $138.
The difference is sent to Seattle, although it supposed to stay in Sammamish.
Sammamish residents took to email, social media and showed up in person at the Oct. 16 council meeting to tell council to keep the moratorium on the Town Center and not to exempt anyone from the new development regulations.
On a split 4/3 vote, the council voted to keep the moratorium. The vote on the development regulations has been postponed.
A day after staff revealed the last data on the new concurrency rules, a split Sammamish city council took action to save development of hundreds, potentially thousands, of new homes, from what looks like an inevitable shut down of growth in Sammamish due to lack of road capacity.
The Sammamish City Council last night effectively lifted the year-long building moratorium, with some conditions for the Town Center.
In a surprise action, city council also adopted an emergency development regulations that will impact the neighborhood character of new development, adding restrictions to projects that aren’t already vested.
Recent emails discovered on Fehr & Peers servers, obtained through a public records request, reveal separate, secret meetings between Kendra Breiland from Fehr & Peers, former City Manager Lyman Howard and Town Center developer STCA.
“This is confidential correspondence from the City Manager’s office,” wrote former Deputy City Manager Jessi Bon to Breiland in an email dated July 22, 2017. “We would like to meet with you on Thursday at on off-site location. At this time it will just be myself and the City Manager. The other staff are not aware of this meeting, so again, please keep this confidential.”
Meetings between developers and government officials are common. What is uncommon–and suspicious–are meetings that are labeled confidential and specifically excluding staff under a request for confidentiality.
A contractor’s emails are subject to the State Public Records Act under certain circumstances, which applied in this case. The complete email exchange is here.