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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Mayor Malchow: “the law doesn’t say grow at all costs”

Sammamish Mayor Christie Malchow took a public stand on

Mayor Malchow

Tuesday against a years old mantra by former councils and former administrations that the “GMA mandates growth.”

In a comment made on a Facebook post on Tueday, Malchow referenced an interview she had with KIRO radio, in which she came out against the years old “head in sand:”

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City council in chaos

In a wild and chaotic meeting Tuesday, dealing with the city manager’s position, concurrency and development the Town Center, it became clear the business of Sammamish is done behind closed doors and that developers’ influence is running strong.  

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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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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.

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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.

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