The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.
At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.
Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.
The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.
Part 1 may be found here. Part 2 may be found here.
How to attain sustainable housing affordability, create vast community wealth and improve driver experiences.
By Paul Stickney
Article Three of Three
Statement: As you have been reading these articles, you have seen me use “we” and “our” quite often. This refers to either The City, the Community or both.
For over four years, I have attended nearly all City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and Transportation Committee meetings plus others. I am definitely NOT a Politician. I see myself as a citizen “Statesman”–bringing a bedrock of principles that are right, to benefit the members of our community, with a vision of long-term housing affordability and sustainability. I am working to build consensus for achieving that vision.
Four new members of the Sammamish City Council are sworn in tonight. The mayor for the next two years and deputy mayor for the next year will also be selected.
This new Council has a plethora of thorny issues facing it this year. Many of them come with hefty price tags that could mean a need to raise new taxes, despite universal opposition to any in a county where tax fatigue has set in.
Except for the declared No. 1 priority, traffic, there’s no attempt to prioritize these issues; they are listed in alphabetical order.
Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, citing what turns out to be a series of unsubstantiated claims, executed a pirouette on his previous vote supporting a moratorium including the Town Center—and went splat.
The Town Center was exempted from the moratorium at the Nov. 21 meeting by a 4-3 vote, with Valderrama, Mayor Bob Keller and Council Members Don Gerend and Kathy Huckabay voting to lift it.
Valderrama said his vote always was about storm water management for the Town Center. In voting to exempt the Town Center, Valderrama claimed the emergency moratorium was not about traffic concurrency.
The surprise move Tuesday by the Sammamish City Council to adopt an emergency building moratorium was about more than creating a pause to understand how traffic concurrency became an enabler of development rather than a control mechanism.
It was a rebuke to a staff and consultants that, years in the making, had ignored Council policy and the City’s own codes and Comprehensive Plan.
The City of Sammamish has gone to court 28 times in the last 10 years on matters other than routine operational reasons. Half were for Land Use Petition (development) (LUP) appeals from Hearing Examiner decisions, a review of court records reveals.
In addition, the City wound up in Court over development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail for what’s called an Administrative Law Review, three times over Public Records and twice by parties seeking injunctions against the City.
The City also is a defendant in a damages lawsuit by developer William Buchan, which is also the plaintiff in one of the LUPs. Both are for the proposed development of Chestnut Estates West, west of 212th Ave. SE and SE 8th St.
The review of records in King County Superior Court this week revealed numerous other court actions relating to City requests to condemn land (usually for road rights of way) and Quit Claim deeds. These are routine cases related to the normal operation of the City.
The court cases do not include recent actions before the state Shorelines Hearing Board on appeals by King County and the Sammamish Homeowners group over a Hearing Examiner’s decision regarding development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
The 2003 Sammamish election presented an opportunity to shift the balance of power from a Republican-conservative leaning City Council to a Democratic-left-of-center membership.
As the election season approached, the Council was generally, though not reliably, split 4-3. Ken Kilroy, Ron Haworth, Troy Romero and Jack Barry were reliably a voting bloc. The minority three were Michele Petitti, Kathy Huckabay and often, but not always, Don Gerend.
Petitti won her seat in 2001. The others were all original council members from 1999.