A day after staff revealed the last data on the new concurrency rules, a split Sammamish city council took action to save development of hundreds, potentially thousands, of new homes, from what looks like an inevitable shut down of growth in Sammamish due to lack of road capacity.
Recent emails discovered on Fehr & Peers servers, obtained through a public records request, reveal separate, secret meetings between Kendra Breiland from Fehr & Peers, former City Manager Lyman Howard and Town Center developer STCA.
“This is confidential correspondence from the City Manager’s office,” wrote former Deputy City Manager Jessi Bon to Breiland in an email dated July 22, 2017. “We would like to meet with you on Thursday at on off-site location. At this time it will just be myself and the City Manager. The other staff are not aware of this meeting, so again, please keep this confidential.”
Meetings between developers and government officials are common. What is uncommon–and suspicious–are meetings that are labeled confidential and specifically excluding staff under a request for confidentiality.
A contractor’s emails are subject to the State Public Records Act under certain circumstances, which applied in this case. The complete email exchange is here.
Sammamish Council Member Ramiro Valderrama distorted advice from an organization
before the City Council August recess that misled fellow council members about key laws governing growth, traffic and development in Sammamish.
Emails obtained from Municipal Resource Service Center (MRSC), a non-profit legal advice organization, reveal Valderrama’s selective citing of laws and legal advice from MRSC painted a picture that support his strategy to continue over development in Sammamish.
In fact, the emails, when read in their entirety, paint a different picture.
In a wild and chaotic meeting Tuesday, dealing with the city manager’s position, concurrency and development the Town Center, it became clear the business of Sammamish is done behind closed doors and that developers’ influence is running strong.
Miki Mullor sent a new round of questions to the City Council and City Administration on July 4. (See the Power Point program here.) He submitted the questions in advance of a scheduled July 10 meeting at which the City Council is to get a detailed briefing from staff about concurrency and how Sammamish measures traffic in approving development.
The Sammamish City Council will hold a five-hour financial “retreat” Thursday at City Hall to determine whether the City’s financial condition is sound enough to avoid a tax hike, new taxes or new debt.
The meeting begins at 2pm.
Sammamish faces large road building expenses if it follows through on everything it wants to do or thinks it should do.