Sammamish City Council members participate in the ceremonial ground breaking for the Village at the Town Center, anchored by Metropolitan Market. L-R: Mayor Tom Vance, Council Member Don Gerend, Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay and Council Member Bob Keller. Vance and Keller served on two planning commissions that created the Town Center Plan. Scott Hamilton, editor of Sammamish Comment, served with both on the two Commissions, also participating in creating the Town Center Plan. Click on photo to enlarge. Photo by Scott Hamilton.
The first commercial/retail center for the Sammamish Town Center broke ground this morning at the corner of SE 4th St. and 228th Ave. SE.
This is a major milestone in the history of Sammamish.
The Town Center plan was some six years in the making, involving five citizen committees and commissions comprised of about 70 citizens; City Councils spanning 2004-2010; and staff time to this day.
Hundreds of citizens participated in charets and public meetings over the course of this time.
The creation of the Town Center Plan truly began in about 2004. The area, roughly bounded by an area extending to the Mars Hill Church on 228th (the church lies just outside the northern boundary) to Skyline High School and Mary Queen of Peace on the north; and from the Eastside Catholic High School (which is outside the Town Center) on the East to roughly 222nd St. on the West. The Sammamish Commons is part of the Town Center Plan.
Nearly a year ago, I raised the alarm about increased spending by the City of Sammamish. At that time, I identified at least $100 million in spending and that the City could be on a path to tax increases.
Here’s what I identified in May 2014:
Community Center: $35 million and probably more.
Developing the former YMCA property next to Pine Lake School, at a cost of $15 million proposed in the park plan.
Sahalee Road improvements at an unidentified cost, but probably in the low millions at the least.
Millions of dollars in the park plan for the Sammamish Landing, the Pigott property and more.
Klahanie Annexation: $32 million for road improvements and who knows what else on top of this, almost certainly amounting to tens of millions of dollars more.
Widening Issaquah-Pine Lake Road at a cost of $16.5m.
Rebuilding “Snake Hill Road” (it’s really 212th Ave. SE, down the windy, snake-like drive to East Lake Sammamish Parkway): Millions of dollars.
Desires to take over the Northeast Sammamish and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer Districts: tens of millions of dollars, at a minimum.
Town Center improvements.
And this is on top of the normal operations of the city, including millions of dollars for road maintenance, parks, services and overhead.
The Sammamish Town Center has finally got a good kick-start for development of 100,000 sq ft, with a mixture of commercial/retail/office and residential, and the anchor tenant of Metropolitan Market, the locally owned grocery chain.
The Sammamish Reporter first broke the news today. Details were brief, so I called City Councilman Tom Odell, who filled in some of the information.
The Sammamish City Council spent a great deal of time on the Ace problem last night and in the end directed the City Attorney, Bruce Disend, to meet with Ace’s attorney to see if a developer’s agreement could be reached.
Ace’s attorney argues that a Developer’s Agreement will enable the City to compress permitting processes and essentially bypass environmental regulations–or mitigate them–in a way that makes building Ace on an environmentally constrained property feasible.
Ace also has retained a company called Watershed to come up with a mitigation plan. The principal of Watershed is Bill Way, who lives on the Lake Sammamish waterfront in our City. I’ve known Bill for years and he is a stand-up guy, dedicated to protecting the environment. His company has come up with creative ways to do so, including for the widening of 228th and its impact on George Davis Creek, as well as Skyline and Eastlake high school projects. This creek runs through the properties involved in the Ace proposal.
In 1987, Vice President George H. W. Bush was gearing up to run for president. The Vice President was well known for mangling his syntax (like father, like son, as it turned out) and often had difficulty articulating his thoughts (as we said…).
First, it must be acknowledged that governments in general typically lack vision. Out of necessity, days are consumed with simply running things and fixing day-to-day problems. But Sammamish, since its inception, has had trouble with “vision.”
I’ll concede that the City has looked into the future and taken some steps on this or that. But action often becomes years in the making and vision, if it is recognized at all, often becomes inaction.
The greatest example is the Community Center. Consider: