Little progress between City, County over ELST, but hope continues

Little tangible progress appeared to be the result of a staff-to-staff meeting two weeks ago between King County Parks and Sammamish over the interminable controversy of development of the final segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

But City Manager Lyman Howard is hopeful some progress can be made.

“I think so,” he said in an interview with Sammamish Comment this week. County officials said they want to work with the City and property owners—statements that have been made before, only to be met with unsatisfactory results.

Howard, ever hopeful and acknowledging past disappointments, nonetheless isn’t throwing in the towel.

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Lake Trail issues remain misunderstood; let’s clear them up

Commentary

Reading comments on this blog about the latest East Lake Sammamish Trail events, prompted by a mass email campaign generated by the Cascade Bicycle Club, displays a real lack of understanding about the issues involved.

The emails created by the Club don’t surprise me: all they care about is bicycling and Sammamish Mapnothing else. Some of their members don’t even follow the Rules of the Road while biking on streets, let alone respect the unique issues involved in developing the ELST. Their self-centered myopia is long-standing.

The Club strikes me as particularly hypocritical because most of the time, the bicyclists prefer the streets and roads to the trails.

But the comments from some of those who live in Sammamish and who otherwise are concerned about local development surprise me. Many use the ELST and should see first hand some of the issues involved.

Let’s look at these unique issues.

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Sammamish Council inundated by Cascade Bicycle Club campaign on ELST

Sammamish officials faced an onslaught of bicyclists last month in a coordinated, mass-attack email campaign urging them to approve the development permits for Section 2B of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

City Council members were inundated with emails that said were coordinated by the Cascade Bicycle Club to approve the permit for the center section of the ELST. This section runs from roughly the 7-11 north to Inglewood Hill Road. It is the final section that is at the development permitting stage.

Sammamish, the permitting agency, is resisting the applications filed by King County, developer of the trail, on several grounds. These include environmental, tree preservation, disputes over legal ownership of the trail and past and current problems between the County and adjacent property owners over development of the north and south sections.

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History of Sammamish resumes today

Sammamish Comment today resumes its occasional series that is loosely called The History of Sammamish (According to Scott).

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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.

Related stories:

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History of Sammamish: Building moratorium ends in 2005

The period 2004-2005 saw little controversy in Sammamish. Rather, this was a period of developing projects that had direct benefit for the residents.

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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.

Highlights in 2004-2005

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