Unfettered development vs controlling it is the only issue in this election

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

Sept. 20, 2019: It is now clear that the Sammamish City Council election this year has come down to one issue: unfettered development across the city vs controlling development so it doesn’t further overwhelm the roads and aggravate the congestion that already exists.

All other issues have taken a back seat.

If you support unfettered development, Karen McKnight, Rituja Indapure and Karen Howe are your choices for council.

If you want to control development and moderate traffic congestion, Christie Malchow, Kent Treen and Ken Gamblin are your choices.

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“You don’t hate someone you know” – Police Chief Bennett’s parting advice to the community

By Kimberly Siegel-Wolf

Major Michelle Bennett

Sammamish is recognized as one of the safest cities in the United States and the safest in the state of Washington.  Responsible for law enforcement in Sammamish for the last three years was Chief Michelle Bennett, who was recently promoted within the Sheriff’s department and thus is leaving Sammamish. 

The Sammamish Comment sat down with Chief Bennett for one last interview before she moves on. 

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City-YMCA deal was sole-source, no-bid contract, no Requests for Proposals issued

By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

Sept. 16, 2019: The agreement between Sammamish and the YMCA for the latter to run the community center was the result of a sole-source, no-bid contract.

No Request for Proposals was issued that would compete management of the center.

The contract between Sammamish and the YMCA was a sole-source, no-bid arrangement. No Requests for Proposals were issued. A Sammamish businessman wanted to bid. City of Sammamish photo.

An offer by a Sammamish health club owner to submit a bid that would return 15% of the gross receipts to the city didn’t even get a hearing.

One of the leading advocates throughout the years for the YMCA was a city council member who also sat on the YMCA board, a clear conflict of interest that was ignore by the city administration and a successive series of city councils. (This member was off the council in 2012-13, when the votes were held.)

The YMCA was fundamentally the only entity supported by the city for nearly a decade before a contract was negotiated.

These lie at the roots of the current controversial examination of the city’s management contract with the YMCA that sees the agency siphoning off $1.4m a year to the Greater Seattle YMCA rather than keeping the money in Sammamish or sharing the profits with the city’s general fund.

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Staff confirms Klahanie annexation’s adverse affects on other road projects

Aug. 26, 2019: The Klahanie area annexation to Sammamish in 2015 caused road projects in the legacy parts of the city to be delayed, despite promises from then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-City Manager Ben Yazici there would be no adverse impacts.

Then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-City Manager promised no ill affects on legacy Sammamish from Klahanie annexation.

Acting public works director Cheryl Paston confirmed at the City Council’s Aug. 20 meeting what Sammamish Comment feared and reported in 2015: the Klahanie annexation would divert money from key projects to fulfill a Christmas list of promises made by Vance, Yazici, council members Don Gerend and Ramiro Valderrama to entice Klahanie residents to vote to annex to Sammamish.

As the current city council debates over projects listings on the Transportation Improvement Plan—notably the Sahalee Way project—the 2015 council led by Vance and Yazici’s administration manipulated the TIP then to claim sharply reduced costs for a major Klahanie road project while simultaneously shifting monies from other road projects in legacy Sammamish.

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STCA wanted to upzone by 42%-68% in 2017

Aug. 20, 2019: STCA, developer of much of the Sammamish Town Center, and city staff pondered dramatic upzoning in 2017.

The idea would have added 250,000 sf to the 600,000 sf of commercial already approved and 1,500 more residential units to the 2,200 approved.

The ideas never made it to the public domain for debate nor to a Docket Request stage to amend the Comprehensive Plan. The 2017 city council quietly, and out of public view, killed the idea before it reached the public or the stage of a formal request.

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BREAKING NEWS: City Issues STCA Phase I a Concurrency Certificate for 419 Homes in City Center

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The City of Sammamish announced today that two STCA projects for the
Town Center development have passed their concurrency tests and that Certificates of Concurrency have been issued for 419 homes and 82,000 sq/ft of commercial space.

As we reported, until recently, STCA Phase I was deemed to fail concurrency. On May 23, Council Members Pam Stuart, Jason Ritchie and Ramiro Valderrama unsuccessfully moved to exclude the Town Center area, and with it STCA, from the concurrency failure on Sahalee way.

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City launches long waited TMP project to address traffic

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The City of Sammamish has launched its long waited Transportation Master Plan (TMP), to help achieve the city’s goals over the next 20 years.

“The TMP will provide a strategic framework and prioritized investments to help improve how we get around town,” says the city’s web site.

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