How the STCA 419 homes development passed concurrency – after failing it for 9 months

By Miki Mullor
Editor 

Aug. 19. 2019: Town Center developer STCA last week received two traffic concurrency certificates that clear the way for 419 new homes and 82,000 square feet of retail space on the southeast corner of SE4th and 222nd Ave. SE.

Three members of the council, staff and STCA believed its Town Center project would not pass concurrency testing as a result of the new concurrency standard adopted earlier this year by a split City Council. Indeed, unofficial test runs over nine months indicated this was the case.

Yet, last week, city staff ran an official test and STCA Phase I passed concurrency, with no improvements to the roads.

How was this possible?

This article unpacks and explains the details behind the approval and raises serious questions. It is unusually long and reads best on a desktop.

Mayor Christie Malchow and Deputy Mayor Karen Moran called a Special Council Meeting to discuss the issues with staff.

The Special Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 20, at 4pm at City Hall. 

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BREAKING NEWS: City Issues STCA Phase I a Concurrency Certificate for 419 Homes in City Center

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The City of Sammamish announced today that two STCA projects for the
Town Center development have passed their concurrency tests and that Certificates of Concurrency have been issued for 419 homes and 82,000 sq/ft of commercial space.

As we reported, until recently, STCA Phase I was deemed to fail concurrency. On May 23, Council Members Pam Stuart, Jason Ritchie and Ramiro Valderrama unsuccessfully moved to exclude the Town Center area, and with it STCA, from the concurrency failure on Sahalee way.

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Gerend silent over ownership, vested interest claimed in action against city

By Scott Hamilton

July 30, 2019: Former Mayor Don Gerend has remained silent over his ownership or vested interest in property since filing a petition last week seeking to overturn Sammamish’s revise traffic concurrency ordinance, adopted two months ago.

Don Gerend

Gerend, who served with distinction on the city council for 19 years, spoke as a citizen opposing the new concurrency standard as too restrictive. The petition was filed with the Growth Management Hearings Board.

The language in the petition outlining his Standing to file it raised pointed questions in social media and in reader comments in Sammamish Comment about whether he has a financial interest in the Sammamish Town Center, development of which currently is the only project unable to meet concurrency on Sahalee Way. Sahalee Way is the road for which a “volume-to-capacity” ratio of 1.1 was adopted.

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Valderrama now supports Sahalee Way project he once called lipstick on a hippo

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

July 29, 2019: The Sahalee Way project Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama now advocates approving is the same ones he labeled “lipstick on a pig” and “lipstick on a hippo” in January 2017.

Ramiro Valderrama

Valderrama opposed the 2015 plan, comparing with a proposed set of projects for East Lake Sammamish Parkway in 2011 that he labeled the “most wasteful project in the city’s history.”

In posts on Facebook last week, Valderrama falsely claimed he supported the Sahalee Way project but only after a Transportation Management Plan was prepared.

Valderrama made his remarks on a Facebook thread commenting about the petition filed by former Mayor Don Gerend seeking to overturn a traffic concurrency adopted two months ago.

Development of the next phase of the Sammamish Town Center cannot pass the concurrency standard on Sahalee Way.

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Critical vote on development tonight, with the Town Center looming above

By Miki Mullor
Editor

  • New concurrency rules block new development due to inadequate infrastructure
  • The new rules were temporary and will effectively expire tonight unless council acts
  • Phase I of the Town Center, 424 homes, is currently blocked
  • Council votes on whether to keep the new rules or not

The Sammamish City Council will hold a public hearing tonight (6:30 at City Hall) with an expected vote later that night to make the concurrency rules enacted in November 2018 permanent.  

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