Tomorrow, Friday, March 6, at 9am in Sammamish Council Chambers, the Growth Management Hearing Board of Central Puget Sound will hold a hearing on the merits in the Don Gerend v. City of Sammamish case over the city’s new concurrency rules.
The board granted the Sammamish Comment’s request to record and broadcast the hearing to the public. The City of Sammamish agreed to broadcast it live on Channel 21 starting at 9am. A recording of it will be available on the City’s YouTube Channel.
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.
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.