City staff overruled its own engineer in favor of STCA’s engineer on Town Center traffic impact

By Miki Mullor 
Editor

Controversy erupted in August when the City of Sammamish announced that STCA’s Town Center Phase I project passed traffic concurrency. 

The City Council convened for a special meeting Aug. 20 to question how was it that this project, 419 homes and commercial space, that has failed concurrency for nine month suddenly passed it.

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Now, emails obtained by the Sammamish Comment through a public records request reveal that city staff inexplicably overruled its own engineer in favor of STCA’s engineer when forecasting the number of car trips the project would generate. 

The staff’s decision lowered the forecasted traffic impact of STCA Phase I by at least 19% in the AM and 30% in the PM peak hours. 

In order to fully understand the implications of ignoring the city traffic engineer and accepting STCA’s traffic consultant data instead, some background is necessary. 

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How the STCA 419 homes development passed concurrency – after failing it for 9 months

By Miki Mullor
Editor 

Aug. 19. 2019: Town Center developer STCA last week received two traffic concurrency certificates that clear the way for 419 new homes and 82,000 square feet of retail space on the southeast corner of SE4th and 222nd Ave. SE.

Three members of the council, staff and STCA believed its Town Center project would not pass concurrency testing as a result of the new concurrency standard adopted earlier this year by a split City Council. Indeed, unofficial test runs over nine months indicated this was the case.

Yet, last week, city staff ran an official test and STCA Phase I passed concurrency, with no improvements to the roads.

How was this possible?

This article unpacks and explains the details behind the approval and raises serious questions. It is unusually long and reads best on a desktop.

Mayor Christie Malchow and Deputy Mayor Karen Moran called a Special Council Meeting to discuss the issues with staff.

The Special Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 20, at 4pm at City Hall. 

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No good solutions forces City Council to rethink transportation projects plan

By Miki Mullor
Editor

  • No real solutions to traffic congestion
  • Phantom traffic projects used to approve developments 
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BREAKING NEWS: A split council votes to make the V/C concurrency standard permanent

By Miki Mullor
Editor

A split Sammamish City Council voted on Thursday night to make the new V/C concurrency standard permanent.

As we reported, the new standard pauses new development approvals until infrastructure can catch up.

Mayor Christie Malchow, Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Council Members Tom Hornish and Chris Ross voted for keeping the V/C standard.

Council Members Pam Stuart, Ramiro Valderrama and Jason Ritchie voted against it.

More details about the meeting to be reported on later date.

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Critical vote on development tonight, with the Town Center looming above

By Miki Mullor
Editor

  • New concurrency rules block new development due to inadequate infrastructure
  • The new rules were temporary and will effectively expire tonight unless council acts
  • Phase I of the Town Center, 424 homes, is currently blocked
  • Council votes on whether to keep the new rules or not

The Sammamish City Council will hold a public hearing tonight (6:30 at City Hall) with an expected vote later that night to make the concurrency rules enacted in November 2018 permanent.  

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Council considers Sahalee improvements tonight, completing 22nd St., to pass concurrency

By Miki Mullor
Editor

  • Sahalee way is failing concurrency due to large car volumes.
  • Staff suggest adding a median and left turn pockets to pass concurrency.
  • Town Center’s first building application currently cannot pass concurrency.
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Town Center Phase I details revealed: 424 homes on 13.5 Acres; blocked by concurrency

By Miki Mullor
Editor

  • STCA LLC, the largest landowner in the Town Center, files its first permit application
  • The development site is between SE 4th and the Lower Commons park
  • City Manager recently said the development will likely fail the current concurrency
  • Valderrama advocates for STCA to relax concurrency
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