Emails reveal secret meetings involving Fehr & Peers, the city’s traffic concurrency consultant

Kendra Breiland
Kendra Breiland, Fehr & Peers

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

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Comp Plan changes may be proposed; Oct. 1 deadline

Parties interested in proposing changes to the Sammamish Comprehensive Plan have until Oct. 1 to submit what’s called a Docket Request to the city.

Changes sought may be for anything in the Comp Plan: zoning, environmental, housing, transportation or any other policies; .

Zoning changes may be for up-zoning and down-zoning.

Anyone may propose a Comp Plan amendment.

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City council appoints Larry Patterson as Interim City Manager

Mayor Christie Malchow announced Thursday night on her Facebook page the appointment of Larry Patterson as the new Interim City Manager.

No additional details are available at this time.

City pays former City Manager $300,000 to separate

The Sammamish City Council approved a $300,000 payment to

Lyman Howard

former city manager Lyman Howard, to separate from the city, according to a Separation and Release Agreement obtained through a public records request.

Howard’s employment with the city terminated as of August 1, 2018.

The payment includes:

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Concurrency approval, lifting building moratorium now targeted for September

The building moratorium in Sammamish won’t be lifted next week.

In a sometimes-heated meeting, the city council on a 4-3 vote adopted an amendment offered by Deputy Mayor Karen Moran to add some capacity-based measurements to the Level of Service concurrency model previously approved.

The absence of road capacity measurements means some key road segments without stop signs or stop lights aren’t measured.

These include East Lake Sammamish Parkway north of Inglewood Hill Road to the Redmond city limits; 244th north of NE 8th to the city limits; and long stretches of Sahalee Way.

All are heavily congested during rush hour and would likely fail concurrency tests.

Continue reading “Concurrency approval, lifting building moratorium now targeted for September”

Just how cozy is the city with STCA?

Editorial

Kellie-Stickney-cropped-221x300
Kellie Stickney Communications Manager

Just how cozy is Town Center developer STCA with the Sammamish city administration?

Sammamish Comment has been reporting aspects of the relationship between the developer, administration and certain members of the city council for more than a year.

Now, The Comment discovered that the city administration collaborated with STCA to promote their project using taxpayer money at the same time the new concurrency model was being developed by the city.

This casts an appearance of a conflict of interest because a realistic concurrency system may block new development under certain circumstances, including the Town Center. STCA is the largest developer of the Town Center.  

The council included the Town Center in the moratorium so it will be subject to the new concurrency.

It is our view that it is improper for city staff to collaborate with STCA and at the same time develop a concurrency model that may block it.  

Indeed, on February 28, Kendra Breiland, the city’s concurrency consultant, met in Bellevue with STCA for “coordination.”  

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It’s about transparency

Editorial

It’s about transparency.

On Tuesday, Sammamish Comment published a post about Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard sending an email to staff, with a CC to the city attorney, to talk about a Developers Agreement with STCA, the principal developer of the Town Center.

City Manager Lyman Howard labeled the email Attorney Client Privilege, even though it was addressed to his assistant and only copied to the city attorney and even though it did not ask for legal advice.

Labeling the email Attorney Client Privilege had but one purpose: to keep the email from being produced in a Public Records Request.

The City Council, then in power in November 2017, was not copied on the email.

After The Comment revealed this email and drew the obvious conclusions, Valderrama, typically, tried to cover his tracks.

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