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.
Sammamish Council Member Ramiro Valderrama distorted advice from an organization
before the City Council August recess that misled fellow council members about key laws governing growth, traffic and development in Sammamish.
Emails obtained from Municipal Resource Service Center (MRSC), a non-profit legal advice organization, reveal Valderrama’s selective citing of laws and legal advice from MRSC painted a picture that support his strategy to continue over development in Sammamish.
In fact, the emails, when read in their entirety, paint a different picture.
In a wild and chaotic meeting Tuesday, dealing with the city manager’s position, concurrency and development the Town Center, it became clear the business of Sammamish is done behind closed doors and that developers’ influence is running strong.