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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Council keeps the Moratorium on the Town Center

On a 4 /3 split, City Council Tuesday night voted to keep the moratorium on the Town Center.

Mayor Malchow, Deputy mayor Moran and Council members Hornish and Ross voted to keep the moratorium.

Council members Ritchie, Stuart and Valderrama voted to lift it.

On a second matter related to exempting 65 homes from the new interim design regulations the council decided to delay a vote until the public hearing on November 6.

More details to follow.

City council ready to prop up development of hundreds of new homes

By Miki Mullor
Deputy Editor

A day after staff revealed the last data on the new concurrency rules, a split Sammamish city council took action to save development of hundreds, potentially thousands, of new homes, from what looks like an inevitable shut down of growth in Sammamish due to lack of road capacity.

Continue reading “City council ready to prop up development of hundreds of new homes”

Emails reveal secret meetings involving Fehr & Peers, the city’s traffic concurrency consultant

Kendra Breiland
Kendra Breiland, Fehr & Peers

Recent emails discovered on Fehr & Peers servers, obtained through a public records request, reveal separate, secret meetings between Kendra Breiland from Fehr & Peers, former City Manager Lyman Howard and Town Center developer STCA.

“This is confidential correspondence from the City Manager’s office,” wrote former Deputy City Manager Jessi Bon to Breiland in an email dated July 22, 2017. “We would like to meet with you on Thursday at on off-site location. At this time it will just be myself and the City Manager. The other staff are not aware of this meeting, so again, please keep this confidential.”

Meetings between developers and government officials are common. What is uncommon–and suspicious–are meetings that are labeled confidential and specifically excluding staff under a request for confidentiality.

A contractor’s emails are subject to the State Public Records Act under certain circumstances, which applied in this case. The complete email exchange is here

Continue reading “Emails reveal secret meetings involving Fehr & Peers, the city’s traffic concurrency consultant”

Comp Plan changes may be proposed; Oct. 1 deadline

Parties interested in proposing changes to the Sammamish Comprehensive Plan have until Oct. 1 to submit what’s called a Docket Request to the city.

Changes sought may be for anything in the Comp Plan: zoning, environmental, housing, transportation or any other policies; .

Zoning changes may be for up-zoning and down-zoning.

Anyone may propose a Comp Plan amendment.

Continue reading “Comp Plan changes may be proposed; Oct. 1 deadline”

Just how cozy is the city with STCA?

Editorial

Kellie-Stickney-cropped-221x300
Kellie Stickney Communications Manager

Just how cozy is Town Center developer STCA with the Sammamish city administration?

Sammamish Comment has been reporting aspects of the relationship between the developer, administration and certain members of the city council for more than a year.

Now, The Comment discovered that the city administration collaborated with STCA to promote their project using taxpayer money at the same time the new concurrency model was being developed by the city.

This casts an appearance of a conflict of interest because a realistic concurrency system may block new development under certain circumstances, including the Town Center. STCA is the largest developer of the Town Center.  

The council included the Town Center in the moratorium so it will be subject to the new concurrency.

It is our view that it is improper for city staff to collaborate with STCA and at the same time develop a concurrency model that may block it.  

Indeed, on February 28, Kendra Breiland, the city’s concurrency consultant, met in Bellevue with STCA for “coordination.”  

Continue reading “Just how cozy is the city with STCA?”

It’s about transparency

Editorial

It’s about transparency.

On Tuesday, Sammamish Comment published a post about Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard sending an email to staff, with a CC to the city attorney, to talk about a Developers Agreement with STCA, the principal developer of the Town Center.

City Manager Lyman Howard labeled the email Attorney Client Privilege, even though it was addressed to his assistant and only copied to the city attorney and even though it did not ask for legal advice.

Labeling the email Attorney Client Privilege had but one purpose: to keep the email from being produced in a Public Records Request.

The City Council, then in power in November 2017, was not copied on the email.

After The Comment revealed this email and drew the obvious conclusions, Valderrama, typically, tried to cover his tracks.

Continue reading “It’s about transparency”