Staff recommends more time on Ace, to January

The Sammamish staff will recommend to the City Council tonight that action on the Ace Hardware development plan be deferred to January.

In the Council packet in advance of tonight’s meeting, Staff writes,

“Continue to work with the applicant team and report back to the City Council in January, 2013 with options to consider the request.”

With respect to the Docket Request by landowners for the SE Quadrant, the Staff recommends to the Council:

“Address the items included in the proponent’s submittal in the upcoming Economic Development Strategic Plan process which will develop specific steps to catalyze implementation of the Town Center Plan. These steps may include programmatic efforts, infrastructure plans, and amendments to the Town Center Plan and associated development regulations.”

I’m unclear if this is adequate or whether the Planning Commission needs to be involved. We’ll have to wait and see what Staff says at the Council meeting tonight.

 

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 One was from Ace Hardware, which as I’ve reported in a previous post was a placeholder and which is superseded by the preferred Development Agreement proposal.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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No further Town Center upzoning needed

The Planning Commission will hand over to the City Council on Feb. 9 the recommended regulations to implement the Town Center Plan adopted by the Council in 2008. The Plan calls for development of 600,000 sf of commercial space and 2,000 residential units.

The Town Center straddles 228th Ave. with the geographic center at SE 4th and 228th. The TC is in four quadrants, two on each side of 228th. The Eastside is assigned 180,000 sf of commercial (office/retail) and the Westside has 320,000 sf of which 90,000 sf is immediately adjacent City Hall and the new Library–forming a cluster next to the developing Sammamish Commons. The other Westside commercial-retail, amounting to 230,000 sf is clustered on SE 4th at about 220th to form the “core” commercial/retail center, on the north side of Sammamish Commons.

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