Sammamish city council descends into dysfunction, paralysis

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

The Sammamish City Council hardly distinguished itself Tuesday night, descending into full-fledged dysfunction, paralysis and open warfare.

The issues: concurrency and the building moratorium.

It was often an embarrassing display and overall, the council as a collective body came off tarnishing itself.

Continue reading “Sammamish city council descends into dysfunction, paralysis”

Concurrency approval, lifting building moratorium now targeted for September

The building moratorium in Sammamish won’t be lifted next week.

In a sometimes-heated meeting, the city council on a 4-3 vote adopted an amendment offered by Deputy Mayor Karen Moran to add some capacity-based measurements to the Level of Service concurrency model previously approved.

The absence of road capacity measurements means some key road segments without stop signs or stop lights aren’t measured.

These include East Lake Sammamish Parkway north of Inglewood Hill Road to the Redmond city limits; 244th north of NE 8th to the city limits; and long stretches of Sahalee Way.

All are heavily congested during rush hour and would likely fail concurrency tests.

Continue reading “Concurrency approval, lifting building moratorium now targeted for September”

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?”

Council backed into corner by staff, consultants on traffic, development; no good choices: analysis

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

Analysis

The Sammamish City Council continues to wrestle with the controversial and highly complex topic of traffic concurrency.

The council has been backed into a corner by staff, consultants and, as the responsible executive, the city manager. There are no good choices left to the council to deal with the city’s growing traffic problems and balancing these against development.

Chris Ross
Karen Moran

The process to date has been so thoroughly mucked up that, in reality, there are few choices the council has if it is going to lift the building moratorium in July, its self-imposed target.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Council Member Chris Ross are the key votes that will determine the direction.

The first choice is to adopt the new model that has been proposed by the city staff and consultants.

The second is to go back to the old model, adjusting it to eliminate “credits” for theoretical added capacity that, for the most part, are pencil-pushing solutions.

I favor the second choice. Here’s why. But it may be too late to go there.

Continue reading “Council backed into corner by staff, consultants on traffic, development; no good choices: analysis”

It’s time to approve concurrency plan, lift moratorium

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

Commentary

It’s time to wrap up the Sammamish traffic concurrency plan and move forward.

It’s time to lift the building moratorium.

The City Council spent a good portion of the meeting last night taking another crack at changes to the concurrency plan approved May 15.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and member Chris Ross moved to reconsider the controversial May 15 plan that was adopted.

What was expected to be a major effort to reconsider turned out to be nothing more than a tweak here and there.

Continue reading “It’s time to approve concurrency plan, lift moratorium”

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”