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.”  

Continue reading “Just how cozy is the city with STCA?”

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.

Continue reading “It’s about transparency”

Valderrama, Howard sought a Developer Agreement with STCA without council authorization

Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard last year wanted to negotiate a Developer Agreement with Town Center developer STCA, without the required council approval, Sammamish Comment learned.

Ramiro Valderrama

The revelation is in an email (click to read it) dated Nov. 21, 2017, that the city manager designated “attorney client privileged.” The email was recently determined to be not privileged and released in a public records request.

The email was addressed to another city employee and cc’d to the city attorney and a second city employee. Howard’s labeling the email attorney-client privilege is intended to bar the email from public disclosure.

Continue reading “Valderrama, Howard sought a Developer Agreement with STCA without council authorization”

Sammamish city council members just screwed their constituents

Editorial

The Sammamish City Council members just screwed their constituents.

On a 5-2 vote May 15, the council agreed to advance the current proposal for revising the traffic concurrency model.

It was a vote that shocked Mayor Christie Malchow and council member Tom Hornish, who opposed advancing the model.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Members Jason Ritchie, Pam Stuart, Ramiro Valderrama and Chris Ross voted to advance the concurrency revisions even through the model doesn’t include analyzing congestion and travel times. The model’s creation also included count flaws, the staff admitted, nor was it validated when submitted to council for approval.

Drivers who sit in traffic are told they have a better experience. Traffic, according to the model, has improved from 2014 to 2016.

It’s a preposterous claim. Yet five council members voted to advance the model toward approval in June or July.

Continue reading “Sammamish city council members just screwed their constituents”

New traffic concurrency model ignores congestion; city council caves to staff

By Miki Mullor
Deputy Editor

Sammamish drivers hoped for traffic congestion relief when the City Council adopted an emergency building moratorium last year in order to take time to fix the traffic concurrency model.

What they are going to get is a new model that’s worse than the old one and worse traffic.

The new model suggests that traffic in Sammamish has improved between 2014 and 2016 and it is better on Sahalee Way, which is notoriously backed up during the morning rush hour.

Continue reading “New traffic concurrency model ignores congestion; city council caves to staff”

City’s new concurrency plan doesn’t measure congestion, overall travel time

By Miki Mullor

Deputy Editor

A new traffic concurrency plan for Sammamish appears unlikely to meet the Sammamish City Council target date to lift the building moratorium in July, despite six months of staff and consultant work and expenditures of about $375,000. (Read more.)

Concurrency is a state law requirement to “​prohibit​ ​development​ ​approval​ ​if​ ​the development​ ​causes​ ​the​ ​level​ ​of​ ​service​ ​on​ ​a​ ​locally​ ​owned​ ​transportation​ ​facility​ ​to​ ​decline​ ​below the​ ​standards​ ​adopted”, unless “​transportation​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​the​ ​impacts​ ​of​ ​development​ ​are made​ ​concurrent​ ​with​ ​the​ ​development “. The law allows development to proceed if “a financial commitment is in place to complete​ ​the​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​within​ ​six​ ​years​.”  (see RCW 36.70A.070, and a clean indented version)

Accordingly, cities are required to set a level of service standard for their roads, measure traffic and forecast future impact of development on traffic.  

In response to residents’ frustration over traffic congestion in Sammamish, City Council has enacted a moratorium and directed staff to revise the city’s concurrency system to focus on drivers’ experience.  Continue reading “City’s new concurrency plan doesn’t measure congestion, overall travel time”

Sammamish Comment names Miki Mullor Deputy Editor, effective immediately

Miki Mullor

Citizen activist Miki Mullor has joined Sammamish Comment as deputy editor, effective immediately.

Mullor, a Sammamish resident for 12 years, emerged as a citizen advocate last year when he undertook, at his own expense, an in-depth study of the city’s traffic concurrency system.

Continue reading “Sammamish Comment names Miki Mullor Deputy Editor, effective immediately”