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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Council backed into corner by staff, consultants on traffic, development; no good choices: analysis

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

Analysis

The Sammamish City Council continues to wrestle with the controversial and highly complex topic of traffic concurrency.

The council has been backed into a corner by staff, consultants and, as the responsible executive, the city manager. There are no good choices left to the council to deal with the city’s growing traffic problems and balancing these against development.

Chris Ross

Karen Moran

The process to date has been so thoroughly mucked up that, in reality, there are few choices the council has if it is going to lift the building moratorium in July, its self-imposed target.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Council Member Chris Ross are the key votes that will determine the direction.

The first choice is to adopt the new model that has been proposed by the city staff and consultants.

The second is to go back to the old model, adjusting it to eliminate “credits” for theoretical added capacity that, for the most part, are pencil-pushing solutions.

I favor the second choice. Here’s why. But it may be too late to go there.

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Sammamish’s Town Center-concurrency dilemma

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.

At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.

Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.

The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.

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In 2006, Sammamish pointed to concurrency to stop growth

As the Sammamish City Council looks at alternatives for traffic concurrency policies to

SE 228th in Sammamish, off-rush hour. Seattle Times photo via Google images.

cope with development and growth, Members should revisit a May 2006 statement by the then-City Manager who said concurrency can be used to limit growth.

That statement, in the City Newsletter by Ben Yazici, stands in stark contrast to statements this summer by his successor, Lyman Howard, Vic Saleman, a traffic engineer consultant, and the City staff, that this isn’t strictly true.

The Council has a study session tonight beginning at 5:30pm at City Hall that includes a focus on concurrency options.

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Sammamish finance retreat Thursday to ponder whether new taxes needed

The Sammamish City Council will hold a five-hour financial “retreat” Thursday at City Hall to determine whether the City’s financial condition is sound enough to avoid a tax hike, new taxes or new debt.

The meeting begins at 2pm.

Sammamish faces large road building expenses if it follows through on everything it wants to do or thinks it should do.

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