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.
I want to offer a counterpoint to Jason Ritchie’s reasons for exempting the Town Center from the current development moratorium. His reasons for lifting the moratorium are that the City will hold the developers accountable, the Town Center saves the environment, residents are getting the best deal, the Town Center accommodates growth, and that he will work to be sure growth is responsible.
Even as Sammamish residents scream over traffic congestion, exacerbated over what proved to be fraudulent implementation of a traffic concurrency model intended to be sure the roads can handle growth, efforts are underway to sharply up-size the Town Center.
The Town Center was approved to have 600,000sf of commercial/retail/office space and 2,000 residential units. Transfer Development Rights (TDRs) already boosted the residential units a few hundred above the 2,000.
The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) studied impacts up to 700,000sf and 3,000 units. Anything above this would require a Supplement EIS, Kamuron Gurol, the Community Development Director, said at the time.
The development company, STCA, is working with staff to propose hiking the Town Center by as much as 250,000sf and up to 1,500 more residential units.
STCA is currently developing the Town Center west of 228th Ave.
March 22: Metropolitan Market, the anchor for the Sammamish Town Center’s commercial district at SE 4th and 228th Ave. SE, opened today to a 33 lb chocolate chip cookie for the long line of consumers that wrapped around to the fronting sidewalk.
A lawsuit challenges the legitimacy of the Sammamish Town Center Plan following adoption of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan revisions in the state-required 10-year
Paul Stickney and Richard Birgh, two residents of the Town Center who have commercial development aspirations, filed the lawsuit Aug. 12 after the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board rejected a challenge on procedural grounds.
Sammamish Comment discovered the lawsuit while reviewing the number of lawsuits filed against the City, or that the City has filed against others, regarding land use actions.