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

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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.

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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?”

Valderrama, Howard sought a Developer Agreement with STCA without council authorization

Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard last year wanted to negotiate a Developer Agreement with Town Center developer STCA, without the required council approval, Sammamish Comment learned.

Ramiro Valderrama

The revelation is in an email (click to read it) dated Nov. 21, 2017, that the city manager designated “attorney client privileged.” The email was recently determined to be not privileged and released in a public records request.

The email was addressed to another city employee and cc’d to the city attorney and a second city employee. Howard’s labeling the email attorney-client privilege is intended to bar the email from public disclosure.

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Sammamish extends building moratorium

The Sammamish City Council extended the building moratorium to allow staff and the council to complete a revised traffic concurrency plan by July. The Town Center was not exempted.

The vote was 7-0.

Council member Jason Ritchie said STCA, a developer of the Town Center, “will be fine either way.”

But he expressed concern about the individual homeowners being prevented from building.

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Town Center Plan Flaws Ignored

  • Glaring omissions in the Town Center plan regarding traffic forewarned 10 years ago – and ignored.

By Miki Mullor

Guest Contributor

Miki Mullor

During the recent moratorium deliberations by City Council, the Town Center neighborhood plan was brought into the conversation. The issues with traffic planning in the city, exposed during the concurrency debacle, were feared to also impact the Town Center plan. Calls to review the plan were answered with a response that the plan was done 10 years ago therefore it’s too late to review.  This implies a “statute of limitation” argument that if indeed there were issues with the plan, those should have been raised at that time and cannot be argued now.

However, recently surfaced documents from the time of Town Center planning in 2007 reveal just that – that serious problems do exist in the plan and those problems were raised timely – yet ignored by the city.

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City Council indecisive about how to approach future growth

By Harry Shedd

Special to Sammamish Comment

The Sammamish City Council appeared indecisive during the council retreat about future growth in the city.

Should the “bedroom community” vision continue into the future or will future generations demand change in our vision?

Should the Town Center receive more of the city’s future growth or should the city continue with current “throughout the city” plans?

Should council members seek out resident input or go with their “best understanding”?

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