Sammamish’s Town Center-concurrency dilemma

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.

At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.

Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.

The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.

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Sammamish Comment names Miki Mullor Deputy Editor, effective immediately

Miki Mullor

Citizen activist Miki Mullor has joined Sammamish Comment as deputy editor, effective immediately.

Mullor, a Sammamish resident for 12 years, emerged as a citizen advocate last year when he undertook, at his own expense, an in-depth study of the city’s traffic concurrency system.

Continue reading “Sammamish Comment names Miki Mullor Deputy Editor, effective immediately”

Town Center Plan Flaws Ignored

  • Glaring omissions in the Town Center plan regarding traffic forewarned 10 years ago – and ignored.

By Miki Mullor

Guest Contributor

Miki Mullor

During the recent moratorium deliberations by City Council, the Town Center neighborhood plan was brought into the conversation. The issues with traffic planning in the city, exposed during the concurrency debacle, were feared to also impact the Town Center plan. Calls to review the plan were answered with a response that the plan was done 10 years ago therefore it’s too late to review.  This implies a “statute of limitation” argument that if indeed there were issues with the plan, those should have been raised at that time and cannot be argued now.

However, recently surfaced documents from the time of Town Center planning in 2007 reveal just that – that serious problems do exist in the plan and those problems were raised timely – yet ignored by the city.

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The strange case of the Larson “investigation”

Tim Larson

When Tim Larson, the Sammamish communications manager, was sent home on paid Administrative Leave, his boss, City Manager Lyman Howard wrote in a memo he was under “investigation.”

Larson had to make himself available for any questions related to the investigation, Howard wrote.

Larson resigned Sept. 26. The resignation was announced by Howard to the City Council and staff in a benign email that didn’t list any reason. Howard expressed good wishes.

Sammamish Comment obtained a copy of Howard’s August memo, which was released through a public records request (PRR), and submitted a PRR for the investigation report and supporting documents following Larson’s resignation.

Two months later, the City Clerk’s office responded, “At the time of your request there was no investigation.” This appears to be parsing words. Taken literally, this means that on the date of the PRR, there was no investigation. It does not, read literally, address any previous investigation that may have existed.

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Sammamish Comment continues on limited basis

By Scott Hamilton

Sammamish Comment will continue publishing past Dec. 31, but on a limited basis.

In August 2016, I announced that my wife and I moved to Bainbridge Island after 20 years in Sammamish and that I would continue publishing Sammamish Comment through 2017, at which time I intended to discontinue the effort.

Not being a resident of Sammamish any longer meant I was somewhat removed from events. Although I obviously remained in contact with established relationships, and created some new ones, being absent on a day-to-day basis made it challenging for what was already an endeavor that is pursued in my free time.

My work schedule, at a time when I should be retiring, has gone the other direction. I’m busier than ever and traveling more.

But events emerged that I just can’t give up serving the City I’ve been serving in one way or another since 1997, when I filed my first land use appeal, prior to incorporation.

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Valderrama cites fake facts in Town Center moratorium flip-flop

Ramiro Valderrama

Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, citing what turns out to be a series of unsubstantiated claims, executed a pirouette on his previous vote supporting a moratorium including the Town Center—and went splat.

The Town Center was exempted from the moratorium at the Nov. 21 meeting by a 4-3 vote, with Valderrama, Mayor Bob Keller and Council Members Don Gerend and Kathy Huckabay voting to lift it.

Valderrama said his vote always was about storm water management for the Town Center. In voting to exempt the Town Center, Valderrama claimed the emergency moratorium was not about traffic concurrency.

This simply wasn’t true.

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Funding for roads used for other priorities, wrote former Public Works director

  • City Council Member Tom Odell is on the record—several times—that Sammamish neglected its road infrastructure for 10 years. Charts and graphs below tell the depressing story.
  • “[F]unding that could have been used for transportation capital projects was used for other priorities such as city hall, the city’s street maintenance program, the YMCA/Community Center and to some extent, even the city’s parks capital projects,” wrote the City’s former Director of Public Works in June 2017.

If Sammamish residents want to know why there is so much traffic congestion, two visuals created by citizen Miki Mullor tells the story easier than long, drawn out narratives can.

Continue reading “Funding for roads used for other priorities, wrote former Public Works director”