Second Sammamish council member says focus growth in Town Center, dodges property rights issues

By Scott Hamilton

A second Sammamish city council member went on record, declaring that

Jason Ritchie
Jason Ritchie

future growth should “focus” on the Town Center.

Jason Ritchie Tuesday joined Member Pam Stuart in calling for future growth to go to the Town Center.

As Sanmamsih Comment wrote Oct. 22, suggesting that future development be directed to the Town Center raises a host of questions.

The Comment posed these to Ritchie. He wrote back, “I’m happy with my statement as is. Nothing more to add at this point. I’ll be working with my fellow council members and their positions to find compromise and a path forward.” Continue reading “Second Sammamish council member says focus growth in Town Center, dodges property rights issues”

BREAKING NEWS:Moratorium effectively lifted off Town Center; development regulations watered down

  • 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.

More analysis to come.

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Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed

By Scott Hamilton

As Sammamish drivers try to cope with congestion in the city, increasing transit service is often suggested as one solution.

Proponents of the developer STCA plans for the Town Center have, in part, pointed to the possibility of including a park and ride (PNR) in the plans as a reason to lift the building moratorium and let STCA file its applications for development.

Without getting into the pros and cons of the overall STCA plan for the Town Center, inclusion of the PNR at this point is more symbolic than substance. Here’s why. Continue reading “Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed”

Intervention badly needed for Sammamish city council

By Scott Hamilton, Editor

Editor’s Note: This column was drafted the week before last. The plan was to publish once the final traffic concurrency and building moratorium votes were taken, anticipated in November. But this weekend, Council Member Pam Stuart launched a highly personal, accusatory attack on Mayor Christie Malchow on Facebook. Stuart brought into the attack indirect reference to Malchow’s children, a political verboten that goes to the presidency of the United states. Thus, I made the decision to publish this column today.

The Sammamish city council badly needs an intervention. Residents have serious cause for concern with the dysfunctional, bitterly split ruling body.

The divisions and in-fighting are the worst seen since before incorporation.

Initially, the council split into two factions: The “new V-3” (Ramiro Valderrama, Jason Ritchie and Pam Stuart, odd bedfellows if there ever were any) and the “M-4” (Christie Malchow, Tom Hornish, Chris Ross and Karen Moran).

Ritchie coined the terms. (The old V-3 were Valderrama, Malchow and Hornish. The latter two split with Valderrama over his 180 degree flip-flops on environmental and development issues and his persistent distortion of facts and outright falsehoods he makes to advance his positions.)

For a while, even this split broke down. It became 2-2-3. Malchow and Hornish remained staunch allies. Moran and Ross became unpredictable votes, flip-flopping on the same issue between the M-2 and the V-3. The V-3 by-and-large remain a solid voting bloc.

More recently, the 4-3 split reemerged. The infighting is worse than ever. It’s not clear that it won’t get worse. Continue reading “Intervention badly needed for Sammamish city council”

Stuart supported upzoning, with conditions, she told Master Builders Assn.

Sammamish Council Member Pam Stuart told the Master Builders Assn. before the 2017 city council election that she supported upzoning for higher density.

Sammamish Council Member Pam Stuart

In a questionnaire the MBA sent to candidates throughout the region, Stuart—who was making her first run for political office—said she would not “advocate” for upzoning, however.

The retrospective is relevant today because Stuart last week claimed high density development is environmentally friendly. Her position fails to take into account the realities of land use zoning, downzoning, “takings” and political opposition.

The MBA ultimately supported Stuart in her election. This support became a point of contention with Stuart’s opponent, John Robinson, in the council race last year. Continue reading “Stuart supported upzoning, with conditions, she told Master Builders Assn.”

Stuart’s faux environmentalism

Editorial

Sammamish City Council Member Pam Stuart ran for office in 2017 vowing to protect the environment.

Council Member Pam Stuart
Council Member Pam Stuart

Instead, she is using a claim of environmental protection to support her vote for lifting the building moratorium on the Town Center and as a proponent for higher density.

At the Oct. 16 council meeting, Stuart argued that lifting the moratorium is environmentally friendly because concentrating growth in one area protects other areas in Sammamish from building.

This shows an appalling ignorance of Sammamish’s land use zoning, the history of the development of the Comprehensive Planning to limit growth, political realities and impacts on property owners.

Either that, or Stuart just is using “environmental protection” as a faux excuse to open the development door to STCA, the principal developer waiting to get the green light to file permit applications to build the Town Center.

Or it could well be both.

Continue reading “Stuart’s faux environmentalism”

Public pressure on city council keeps the moratorium on the Town Center

Karen Moran
Karen Moran

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.

Continue reading “Public pressure on city council keeps the moratorium on the Town Center”