Sammamish needs to act now for more commercial zoning–not wait to 2015–due to ‘economic emergency’

There were three “Docket Requests” submitted to the City from citizens seeking amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. One was from Ace Hardware, which as I’ve reported in a previous post was a placeholder and which is superseded by the preferred Development Agreement proposal. Another was from the landowners in the Town Center’s Southeast Quadrant. And the third had to do with how density is treated.

Staff urged the Council to reject all three requests, saying the Ace was too difficult to achieve given wetland issues and timing and that the other two should wait until the 2015 Comp Plan rewrite.

The recommendation to put off Comp Plan changes of consequence to 2015 may have some merit under ordinary circumstances. But we have what I call an “economic emergency” right now.

Regency owns almost all the commercial space in the heart of Sammamish (only the Saffron complex is owned by someone else) and it’s now clear Regency doesn’t give a hoot about local businesses. Ace Hardware, the Sushi restaurant and Rancho Grande are being pushed out in favor of national retailers. Several other local businesses are gone. Civilized Nature is going.

The lack of alternative commercially zoned space is killing opportunities for our local business.

And, unfathomably, the City Administration has not on its own initiative proposed identifying properties in the city outside the Town Center that could be rezoned commercial and which do not have the regulations associated with the Town Center that, as we now know, make it virtually impossible for small businesses to locate there.

Recognizing this, last January I submitted a long list of ideas to the City Council to redress some of these issues. The proposal was put on the shelf.

With the time for Comp Plan amendments now upon us, the City Administration did not come forth with a single idea to redress this, but instead says wait until 2015.

This is ridiculous. Even more so, it seems that nobody on the City Council suggested changes, either. Where is our leadership? Where is the vision?

At the December 4 City Council meeting, I provided public comment resubmitting my January list of suggestions and urged the Council to direct staff to include rezonings on the current Docket Request. This submittal is below the jump. the January memo is here.

The City Council is to make decisions regarding Ace Hardware, the Docket Request from the Southeast Quadrant, the other Docket Request and, I hope, my December 4 suggestion all at the December 11 meeting. I urge citizens to appear again to support affirmative action on these. It seems the City needs the proverbial 2×4 upside the head to get the message. It’s astounding that we have this economic emergency that is devastating locally owned businesses and neither the City Administration or the Council has taken any action to meet this emergency.

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Petco confirmed, coming to Safeway complex

The Sammamish Review has confirmed what was reported here earlier by a reader: Petco is coming to Sammamish. Here is the story.

Petco is moving into the vacant space previously rented by Hollywood Video. It’s also taking over space of the displace Rancho Grande restaurant, which was forced out due to a “leasing inconvenience.” Also displaced is the Sushi restaurant.

I’m still trying to confirm multiple reports that Trader Joe’s is what will displace Ace Hardware, whose lease expires in August 2013.

First Ace Hardware, now Rancho Grande

As just about anyone who reads anything in Sammamish knows, Ace Hardware lost its lease and would have had to move by September 2012. A public outcry, and pressure from the city, got the property owner, Regency, to extend the lease one more year.

But now Rancho Grande, two stores down from Ace, lost its lease and has closed last week. A sign on the window blames a lease issue.

A reader commented on another of our posts that Petco is supposed to take over the old Hollywood Video and the Rancho Grande space. The reader also claims Trader Joe will take over Ace’s space. Neither is confirmed.

I did talk with a doctor at Swedish Pine Lake Medical Center. Swedish had wanted the Ace space, but, the doctor says, it’s no longer available.

If the Petco story is true, this will essentially force Civilized Nature out of business.

Regency doesn’t seem to care one whit about our local businesses.