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.
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.”
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.
The process to date has been so thoroughly mucked up that, in reality, there are few choices the council has ifit 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.
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.
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.
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.