The Sammamish Chamber of Commerce vowed to defy the City Council and proceed with the annual Farmers Market despite the city cancelling all its sponsored public events this year due to the Coronavirus crisis.
The Chamber has managed the Market under contract to the City since 2009. The City also partially funds the Market.
But the director of the Market, Deborah Sogge, claims the Market is a Chamber event despite a clear City contract and five-figure funding from the City budget—taxpayer dollars.
The Market has been held in City Plaza since inception.
Sammamish city staff, in a move reminiscent of the Variances-R-Us approach to development in 2015, ignored city code in approving a critical step of development between September 2019 and January 2020.
City staff issued 11 traffic concurrency certificates for various development projects, even though Sahalee Way is failing concurrency. Staff decided to interpret the code to allow more development to continue, even if those developments caused more cars to use the failing Sahalee Way.
When doing so, staff ignored other portions of the code. Staff also did not ask the Sammamish City Council to clarify the code.
In a blunder by Sammamish City Staff, the City Council was mistakenly led to adopt a loophole in the building moratorium that was enacted last week.
The loophole, a result of compounding errors made over 15 years, would have allowed developers to acquire rights to develop while skirting the new concurrency rules.
And with Town Center developer STCA working to get more permits approved, the mistake could have been disastrous had STCA was able to take advantage of the loophole.
The Sammamish Comment was able to independently confirm staff’s mistake was unintentional.
Another mistake, this time procedural, renders ineffective the action taken by the Council last week adopting the loophole.
A special City Council meeting is now scheduled for Monday to close the loophole while maintaining the intent of the moratorium.
At the same meeting, and unrelated to this blunder, City Council conditionally backed Council Member Ken Gambln’s call to initiate a formal investigation of the circumstances that led to the issuance of concurrency certificates to STCA Phase I in August 2019.
Gamblin’s call followed a cameo by former Council Member Tom Hornish who also called for an investigation during public comment.
A much anticipated ruling by the Growth Management Hearing Board rejects former Mayor Don Gerend claims that the new concurrency rules were illegal. But the GMHB faults the City on procedural errors. The Board gave the City until October 30 to correct the errors.
The Board’s decision caps a two year long struggle between the majority City Council and supporters of the Town Center project over the new concurrency rules.
In response to the ruling, the City Council enacted an immediate development moratorium to give the City time to address these procedural issues.
This afternoon, Mayor Karen Moran addressed the public over video about Covid-19. In her address, Moran, a former nurse and a mother of two healthcare workers, is asking residents to join her at 8pm to applaud healthcare workers worldwide.
UPDATE: tonight’s City Council meeting has been cancelled.
The new majority on the Sammamish City Council will face its first major decision tonight on the Town Center – whether to revamp the Town Center plan, or focus on adjustments. This decision comes as new details on further phases of Town Center are revealed in an unsolicited proposal developer STCA made to Sound Transit to place a “transit center” on one of its properties.
STCA’s proposal details a total of 2,000 homes (6,000 residents), 2,000 employees and 11,000 daily customers in the area west of 228th Ave, above the Met Market complex.
Tonight’s meeting is closed to public attendance due to the coronavirus but will be broadcast live on Channel 21 and on Facebook, starting at 6:30pm: