Sammamish Comment today resumes its occasional series that is loosely called The History of Sammamish (According to Scott).
History of Sammamish
This is principally based on recollection and first-hand accounts of The Comment’s founder and editor, Scott Hamilton. Hamilton was involved in the incorporation election in 1998 and every City Council election since the first one in 1999.
He served on the Planning Advisory Board, which wrote the first Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning Commission, which created the Town Center Plan. Hamilton moved to what was then unincorporated Sammamish in 1996 and in August 2016, moved to Bainbridge Island. Sammamish Comment continues this year to complete The History. Plans are to discontinue The Comment Dec. 31, 2017.
The period 2004-2005 saw little controversy in Sammamish. Rather, this was a period of developing projects that had direct benefit for the residents.
History of Sammamish
A moratorium on building development, adopted when the City incorporated in 1999, remained in place. It would be lifted by the end of 2005 after developers sued, alleging the length of the moratorium was excessive. Fighting the lawsuit, and potentially losing it, could have bankrupted Sammamish. So, it was agreed the moratorium would be lifted.
But the moratorium didn’t stop the City from developing and upgrading parks and roads. The fight over development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail—of which the City was not a part—continued.
Two civic events were launched that have become popular draws: Nightmare at Beaver Lake and Summer Nights in the Park.
Council Members routinely used private email accounts for City-related business.
Expansive Public Records Request during 2015 Council elections brought issue to fore.
One Council Member, acting as a private citizen, demanded emails on private account from another Council Member.
The City Attorney, paid for by tax dollars, became de facto attorney for the “private citizen” Council Member.
Two Council Members subsequently failed to produce emails from their private accounts.
One of the two Council Members failed to produce emails from her private account again in 2016 pursuant to a PRR.
Hillary Clinton’s email was a story that wouldn’t die in the presidential campaign, dogging her right through the Nov. 8 election.
The City of Sammamish has its own problems over emails. Council members routinely used private emails for city business and when it comes to complying with the Washington State law for Public Records Requests (PRR), some members aren’t always forthcoming with documents.
One City Council Member was explicit that a controversial topic should be discussed using private emails to avoid public disclosures through City emails.
The City Attorney’s position on compliance in responding to Public Records Requests appears inconsistent.
The issue is about transparency in government and complying with the law.
Requirements to hand over emails from personal accounts is well established in Washington State. A Bainbridge Island case is illustrative. See here and here.
King County sued Sammamish Jan. 3 over a determination by the City that the County’s clearing and grading permit application for development of Section 2B of the East Lake Sammamish Trail is incomplete.
The County asks King County Superior Court for a declaratory judgment that the application is complete and vested to rules in place Nov. 16. Companion permit applications were deemed complete then by the City. The County also asks for unspecified damages.
This is the latest in long-running disputes between the County, City and residents along the trail.
Property owners along the East Lake Sammamish Trail in the middle section, called 2B, in Sammamish this week implored the City Council to intervene on their behalf in their long-running conflicts with King County over final development of the trail.
Section 2B runs from roughly from the 7-11 on East Lake Sammamish Parkway north to Inglewood Hill Road.
A score of residents asked Sammamish to rescind permits for the section.
Actually, one permit application for designing the trail has been deemed “complete.” However, this permit remains in review.
Another application, for clearing and grading, was deemed by the City as incomplete. The County filed a lawsuit over this determination and is seeking damages, said City Attorney Mike Kenyon.
The Sammamish City Council tonight is getting an earful from property owners along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, who are complaining once again that King County is running roughshod over their rights.
Council Member Kathy Huckabay lamented the procedural inability to have a dialog with residents during public comment. How, she asked, could there be a better dialog?
The answer came from the Planning Commission in 2009 in the form of a unanimous recommendation to have regularly scheduled town hall meetings.
Huckabay and Mayor Don Gerend were on the Council when the recommendations were forwarded from the Commission. In fact, Gerend was the mayor at the time.
The PC, in a 7-0 vote, included this recommendation in a series of proposals to improve communications with citizens. The recommendations were ignored.