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”

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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Election night results for races including Sammamish

Kim Schrier, Democrat running for US Congress in the 8th Congressional

Republican Dino Rossi is losing badly on election night in his bid for US Congressman.

District, which includes Sammamish, jumped to a commanding lead over Republican Dino Rossi.

Schrier received 55% of the election night vote over Rossi, who lives in Sammamish. As expected, Schrier’s base lies in Democratic King County. The 8th includes portions of Pierce County and all of Kittitas and Chelan counties.

A loss by Rossi would be his fourth in a row. He lost twice for governor and once for US Senator.

Democrats appear to be sweeping State Senate and State Representative seats in the 5th, 41st and 45th Legislative districts.

The 5th includes the greater Klahanie area. The 41st is roughly the southern half of Sammamish and the 45th the norther half, roughly along a line of SE 8th St.

Election night results are below the jump.

Historically, election night results vary only a point or two from the final results, which won’t be tallied until after Thanksgiving.

Continue reading “Election night results for races including Sammamish”

Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed

By Scott Hamilton

As Sammamish drivers try to cope with congestion in the city, increasing transit service is often suggested as one solution.

Proponents of the developer STCA plans for the Town Center have, in part, pointed to the possibility of including a park and ride (PNR) in the plans as a reason to lift the building moratorium and let STCA file its applications for development.

Without getting into the pros and cons of the overall STCA plan for the Town Center, inclusion of the PNR at this point is more symbolic than substance. Here’s why. Continue reading “Park & Ride symbolic solution; more bus service is what’s needed”

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”