Top 10 stories of 2018

The Top 10 stories in Sammamish for 2018 revolved around traffic, the building moratorium and—surprisingly—a state legislative action concerning public records.

The Sammamish Town Center was the focus of controversy in 2018, connected to many of the Top 10 stories for the year.

Here are the stories most viewed on Sammamish Comment for the year. Continue reading “Top 10 stories of 2018”

Time for fresh approaches

By Scott Hamilton
Founder, Sammamish Comment

The Sammamish City Council held its last meeting of 2018 yesterday, ending the most contentious and divisive year I’ve seen since the incorporation vote in 1998.

As 2019 prepares to arrive, it’s time for a fresh approach to how this city is governed.

The city council, administration and staff has been consumed by traffic concurrency, the resulting building moratorium and related development regulations all year—really, since October 2017, when the moratorium was adopted to give the government time to sort out the concurrency issues.

These issues consumed the city nearly to the exclusion of all else.

Continue reading “Time for fresh approaches”

BREAKING NEWS: New concurrency passes 4:3; new development now in question

A split Sammamish City Council tonight passed the new traffic concurrency rules.

The “M4,” Mayor Christie Malchow, Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Council Members Tom Hornish and Chris Ross, voted for the new volume/capacity (V/C) rule that brings some measurement of reality on the roads into Sammamish concurrency rules.

The “V3,” Council Members Ramiro Valderrama, Pam Stuart and Jason Ritchie, voted against.

Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: New concurrency passes 4:3; new development now in question”

Second Sammamish council member says focus growth in Town Center, dodges property rights issues

By Scott Hamilton

A second Sammamish city council member went on record, declaring that

Jason Ritchie
Jason Ritchie

future growth should “focus” on the Town Center.

Jason Ritchie Tuesday joined Member Pam Stuart in calling for future growth to go to the Town Center.

As Sanmamsih Comment wrote Oct. 22, suggesting that future development be directed to the Town Center raises a host of questions.

The Comment posed these to Ritchie. He wrote back, “I’m happy with my statement as is. Nothing more to add at this point. I’ll be working with my fellow council members and their positions to find compromise and a path forward.” Continue reading “Second Sammamish council member says focus growth in Town Center, dodges property rights issues”

BREAKING NEWS:Moratorium effectively lifted off Town Center; development regulations watered down

  • In a 4-3 vote, the Sammamish city council voted to water down the interim development regulation adopted two months ago and to exempt 65 lots that were in the pipeline
  • Deputy Mayor Karen Moran joined Council Members Ramiro Valderrama, Pam Stuart and Jason Ritchie to vote in favor.
  •  City council also voted 6-1 to accept an “MOU” (Memorandum of Understanding) with STCA, the Town Center developer.  The effect of accepting the MOU is that STCA can apply for permits for at least 500 units before the work on V/C concurrency is done, likely allowing development of the Town Center under the old method of concurrency.
  • Council Member Tom Hornish voted against the motion.

More analysis to come.

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Intervention badly needed for Sammamish city council

By Scott Hamilton, Editor

Editor’s Note: This column was drafted the week before last. The plan was to publish once the final traffic concurrency and building moratorium votes were taken, anticipated in November. But this weekend, Council Member Pam Stuart launched a highly personal, accusatory attack on Mayor Christie Malchow on Facebook. Stuart brought into the attack indirect reference to Malchow’s children, a political verboten that goes to the presidency of the United states. Thus, I made the decision to publish this column today.

The Sammamish city council badly needs an intervention. Residents have serious cause for concern with the dysfunctional, bitterly split ruling body.

The divisions and in-fighting are the worst seen since before incorporation.

Initially, the council split into two factions: The “new V-3” (Ramiro Valderrama, Jason Ritchie and Pam Stuart, odd bedfellows if there ever were any) and the “M-4” (Christie Malchow, Tom Hornish, Chris Ross and Karen Moran).

Ritchie coined the terms. (The old V-3 were Valderrama, Malchow and Hornish. The latter two split with Valderrama over his 180 degree flip-flops on environmental and development issues and his persistent distortion of facts and outright falsehoods he makes to advance his positions.)

For a while, even this split broke down. It became 2-2-3. Malchow and Hornish remained staunch allies. Moran and Ross became unpredictable votes, flip-flopping on the same issue between the M-2 and the V-3. The V-3 by-and-large remain a solid voting bloc.

More recently, the 4-3 split reemerged. The infighting is worse than ever. It’s not clear that it won’t get worse. Continue reading “Intervention badly needed for Sammamish city council”

Stuart supported upzoning, with conditions, she told Master Builders Assn.

Sammamish Council Member Pam Stuart told the Master Builders Assn. before the 2017 city council election that she supported upzoning for higher density.

Sammamish Council Member Pam Stuart

In a questionnaire the MBA sent to candidates throughout the region, Stuart—who was making her first run for political office—said she would not “advocate” for upzoning, however.

The retrospective is relevant today because Stuart last week claimed high density development is environmentally friendly. Her position fails to take into account the realities of land use zoning, downzoning, “takings” and political opposition.

The MBA ultimately supported Stuart in her election. This support became a point of contention with Stuart’s opponent, John Robinson, in the council race last year. Continue reading “Stuart supported upzoning, with conditions, she told Master Builders Assn.”