Lake Trail overhangs Sammamish politics for 20 years

  • This is about 10 pages when printed.

City_of_SammamishJune 5, 2016: Development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail has been an overhang of Sammamish politics for 20 years.

It was a dominate factor in the first City Council race 1999 and surfaced again in 2001. It became a key issue in the 2003 election, with a flood of “outside” money flowing to candidates favoring the Trail.

The issue surfaced periodically in subsequent elections. It wasn’t until 2015 that once more it became a key election issue, as Trail residents rallied behind three candidates to win bitterly contested races. For the first time, they helped elect a resident who lives along the Trail.

And the issue hasn’t subsided, either.

In April, three Council Members voted to undercut the City’s own Hearing Examiner and side with King County, developer of the Trail, on a jurisdictional issue in an appeal before the State Shoreline Hearings Board.

This is the story behind the 20-year battle of the ELST.

Continue reading

Sammamish Incorporates

Sammamish Map

The boundaries for the proposed City of Sammamish were drawn to reflect the County’s Urban Growth Boundary on the East, to avoid costly repairs to Sahalee Way to the North (there had been a slide a few years before) and Providence Point, a 55+ year old residential community that was viewed to be anti-incoporation. Klahanie was excluded because of the view the area favored annexation to Issaquah.

The decision on the Greens appeals was issued in favor of the appellant in October 1998. A vote on whether to incorporate the City of Sammamish was scheduled just a few weeks later, on Election Day in November 1998.

The big driver toward incorporation was the unbridled growth King County had been approving for years on what was then known as the Issaquah and Redmond plateaus.

The area was in potential annexation areas (PAA) for Redmond, north of SE 8th St., and Issaquah, South of SE 8th. The options open to residents at the time were to incorporate, stay unincorporated, or hopes for annexation on the North to Redmond and on the South t Issaquah. Neither city was prepared at that time to annex, nor was there any indication from them when annexation might be considered. So the only true options were incorporate or remain with King County.

Momentum to incorporate

There was great momentum for incorporation. Residents were tired, and alarmed, at all the white billboards going up all over the Plateau announcing development applications. (King County used white signs for this purpose; later, Sammamish would use blue signs.)

Despite all the growth, the County wasn’t investing in roads or parks to accommodate the growth. The rural, two-lane roads were becoming overwhelmed. The Plateau was split among two County Council Districts. One seat, to the North of NE 8th/Inglewood Hill Road, was held by Louise Miller. Her District went to Woodinville and the North end of the Plateau held few votes and was largely ignored by Miller, who was viewed as pro-development.

To the South of Inglewood, the District seat was held by Brian Derdowski, an environmentalist, who was anti-growth. Derdowski held the belief that if roads weren’t improved, it would stop development (the concurrency theory outlined previously), so he actively fought any money allocation for the Plateau for road improvements. This was fine with County officials, who were pressed for money anyway, and were more than happy to allocate money elsewhere.

The problem with Derdowski’s theory was that development came here anyway.

With offensive growth, County policies that crammed growth into the Plateau, no infrastructure to support the growth and deaf ears of County government and our local representatives, the momentum to incorporate picked up steam.

The Greens decision, stopping development of the two projects over traffic issues, added to this momentum.

Continue reading