A months-long investigation by Sammamish Comment that includes email interviews with staff and public records requests reveal city staff opposition to restoring a stringent stormwater standard in the Town Center area.
Staff opposes the former standard because the soil in the Town Center makes it “infeasible” to implement.
In public, staff said the standard or an equivalent to it, is in place.
In private meetings with council members, staff admitted it was eliminated and opposed restoring it.
STCA’s Phase I 400 homes permit’s stormwater section was approved although the developer said it is not implementing it because “it is not feasible”.
The City does not know the impact of the currently enacted and relaxed standards on the creeks and downstream homes.
City Manager David Rudat on The Comment’s investigation: “a take down”.
For the second time, staff from the City’s Public Works department promotes official statements that contradict the public record.
Back in August, the City was forced to issue a rare retraction after a traffic planner in the Public Works department said in an email that was widely published that “there was no manipulation of data to favor any type of development.” The City claimed the email was taken out of context.
Now, another Public Works staffer has publicly disputed Council Member Kent Treen’s bombshell conclusion, in his guest op-ed, that in 2013 the City relaxed a critical stormwater standard in the Town Center to ease development costs and that in 2016 that standard was dismantled altogether.
Treen’s effort to restore the old standard in a special legislation has been stalled by staff.
The public record shows that staff’s public dispute of Treen is inconsistent with City’s own past positions on the issue.
For two weeks,The Sammamish Comment attempted to interview staff on the issue to address the inconsistency. Staff, who were very quick to dispute Treen in public, now are unable to find time to answer questions by email on the issue.