Whitten goes off the deep end on affordable housing

It was a perplexing comment in The Sammamish Review profile of Nancy Whitten, seeking election to her third term on the City Council.

Here’s the bizarre portion of the article:

Whitten said she is also concerned about Town Center’s requirement that 10 percent of a development’s housing units be “affordable,” in that they can be rented by a family with an annual income of about $54,000. Having grown up in Chicago, she points to the infamous Cabrini-Green public housing project as an example of the downfalls of clustering affordable housing together.

“I question, socially, if we want to pack that much affordable housing in that small of an area,” she said.

I, too, am from Chicago (the Western suburbs) and know well the history of Cabrini Green. In the heart of Chicago, the place was a notorious housing project owned and operated by the City–not privately-owned units administered by a local organization like Seattle’s Arch. It was a densely-packed project for thousands of people of low income.

Chicago’s Cabrini Green. This is no Sammamish.

The affordable housing plan for Sammamish is a required 10% of the 2,000 units throughout the Town Center (with an option to go up to 20% of any given project), and families would have an average income of $54,000–which in their dreams, nobody residing in Cabrini-Green remotely made (except through illicit activities, perhaps).

The Chicago Housing Authority so mis-managed the “projects,” as it was known, and crime was so rampant, that the projects were eventually torn down.

Sammamish’s affordable housing plan doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to Cabrini-Green, and Whitten knows it.

In fact, the Town Center Plan doesn’t even remotely resemble the one once advanced by the Lake Washington School District, which owns 15 acres in the Town Center (not all of which is buildable). LWSD once proposed 144 units on this site, all of which would be affordable, for professions like teachers, police officers and fire fighters. Insofar as the proposal came very early in the Comprehensive Plan process, it was deemed premature and LWSD withdrew the plan.

The Town Center plan calls for a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 400 units, scattered throughout the 100 buildable acres.

What is Whitten thinking?

Galvin flouts law in candidacy

John Galvin, who has spent years complaining about and alleging that Sammamish flouted its own procedures and the law in the Town Center process, flouted the law when it came to his own candidacy for the Sammamish City Council.

Galvin declared his candidacy May 12, in opposition to incumbent Nancy Whitten. Under state law–and clearly defined for new candidates on the Public Disclosure Commission website–Galvin had 14 days to file is paperwork with the PDC. The paperwork is called a C-1, which lists his candidacy and his campaign treasurer, and an F-1, which is a financial disclosure statement.

The C-1 and the F-1 were required to be filed by May 26. He did not file and the PDC was alerted to this failure the next day. The PDC then contacted Galvin, and he finally filed his paperwork dated May 31 and received June 1. Here it is:  Galvin PDC Candidate Filings.

Galvin has a history thinking that the rules don’t apply to him. Throughout the last decade, Galvin has routinely shouted out from the back of the city council chambers, disrupting the meeting. The City Council, Planning Commission and Park Commission all have time limits for public comments so no one member of the public monopolizes the time. The public comment period, three minutes for individuals and five minutes for a representative of a group, is timed and a bell goes off when the time is up. The Mayor and chairmen routinely let the speaker go perhaps 30 seconds over to complete his or her thought but Galvin routinely abuses the process. He not only ignores the time limit and the bell, he often also ignores the admonition to wrap up. He routinely goes two-three minutes over the time and in one case talked for 12 1/2 minutes. (Mayor Gerend deserves blame for indulging this frequent, routine, blatant and egregious violation of the rules.)

Galvin has proved over and over that rules and courtesy don’t apply to him. Now he’s demonstrated the state law doesn’t apply to him, either. This is not a person citizens want or need on our city council.

Sammamish Legislator proposes eminent domain restriction

State Rep. Larry Springer (D-45th) has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would restrict government’s ability to condemn property and resell it for commercial purposes. Springer represents the northern end of Sammamish.

The Sammamish Review has this story.

I proposed such a restriction in testimony during public comment before the City Council as a protection for homeowners in the Town Center. The City Council rejected the recommendation.

Galvin lobbies on Town Center after public hearing closed

John Galvin, one of the landowners in the SE Quadrant, continued to lobby city council members on the Town Center after the public hearings closed September 7, in violation of the rules.

Written submissions closed at 5pm on Sept. 7; additional oral testimony was allowed that evening, but closed when deliberations by the council began. The second email below arrived after deliberations began.

Below are his emails.

Continue reading “Galvin lobbies on Town Center after public hearing closed”

Missed opportunities to control cell towers

The March 12 issue of The Sammamish Reporter has a long article about cell towers called Selling our Skyline. While the headline is hyperbole–Sammamish is hardly “selling the skyline–” the article does a good job of explaining the issues.

Unfortunately, Sammamish previously had opportunities to deal more effectively with this issue and frankly, the City blew it.

Continue reading “Missed opportunities to control cell towers”

Council begins Town Center regulations review

The City Council will begin reviewing the regulations recommended by the Planning Commission for the Town Center at its meeting Monday, March 15. This is a study session, so it will not be televised or recorded for subsequent posting on the City’s website. (The policy of not televising study sessions is a poor one, but this might be a topic for another time.)

The regulations include design guidelines, storm water control, setbacks, sign codes, building heights, parking requirements, permitted uses, buffer requirements, affordable housing and more. The Staff proposes an ambitious schedule to complete Council review by the end of June, after which applications can be accepted to begin development.

The regulations are fairly prescriptive and very detailed and some of them will generate controversy, such as the requirements for parking structures and affordable housing.

Continue reading “Council begins Town Center regulations review”

Council to decide on 2m sf Town Center request Feb. 16

The City Council is scheduled to decide this Tuesday, February 16, on whether to grant a Docket Application to amend the Comprehensive Plan to provide for 2 million square feet of commercial space and a 20% increase in residential zoning for the new Town Center.

The two posts that follow this one explain all that needs to be explained.