After six years, the fight over approval of the Chestnut Estates West plat off 212th Ave. and SE 8th St. appears to be over.
The Washington Appellate Court denied an appeal by developer Buchan over a Hearing Examiner ruling that Sammamish erred in allowing Buchan to swap out “tract K,” permanent open space that was part of the first Chestnut Estates plat approval.
Buchan years later applied for approved for the West plat at the end of SE 8th in the original plat. But Buchan needed to swap tract K to another location in order to build a bridge and connect to the original plat.
How did two veterans of Sammamish public service lose their bids for election to the City Council in the Nov. 3 election to two unknown newcomers to the City?
They lost through a combination of miscalculation, arrogance, the split of traditional coalitions, angry opposition, tenacious newcomers and a one-term Council Member who wasn’t about to cower in the face of determined opposition.
They also had an unwitting helping hand from their own Deputy Mayor, whose obsessions galvanized the opposition to upset her allies.
This is the inside story of how Mayor Tom Vance lost to two-year resident Tom Hornish and how former Mayor and Council Member Mark Cross lost a comeback bid to a feisty young Mom in tennis shoes, Christie Malchow, invoking remembrances of another tennis shoe Mom campaign in Washington long before Malchow moved here.
Outright denies project, and raps City for decisions over roads, environment.
Says project should never have been approved.
Residents pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight City’s approval.
A development approved by Sammamish that drew four appeals on environmental, street standards and other grounds was rejected last week by the City’s Hearing Examiner.
Even the developer, William Buchan Inc, appealed the decision by the City Staff, a highly unusual move, protesting conditions the City put on the development.
The Friends of Pine Lake and Wally Pereyra appealed over environmental impacts and Chestnut Estates Neighbors appealed over impacts to their neighborhoods.
Hearing Examiner John Galt found that the City improperly approved Buchan’s application for an extension of the Chestnut Estates development, at 212th and SE 8th, to a new project called Chestnut Estates West, across sensitive Ebright Creek. Accordingly, Galt denied the application. With this denial, several elements of the four appeals became moot, and he didn’t rule on the merits of these.
But in a 44 page decision, Galt minced no words. He said residents of Chestnut Estates could not be blamed for feeling Buchan engaged in “bait and switch” tactics with Chestnut Estates and the City’s decision—and its staff testimony—was “constantly changing” and “troubling.”