City advances SE Quadrant Docket Request

Overruling the Staff recommendation opposing action on the SE Quadrant Docket Request, the City Council approved moving forward with it. The City Council also approved a revised Staff recommendation putting the issues raised by the Docket Request on a parallel track of examining the issues at the Council’s Economic Development Committee.

The Council also decided to expand the Quadrant’s Docket Request issues to the entire Town Center.

John Galvin, the spokesman for the Quadrant, threw another temper tantrum during the public comment section. He also repeated the fiction that his group did not request a large upsizing of the Town Center in the original 2009 Docket request. See a post here and a Sammamish Review article here quoting the 2009 language. The 2009 Docket Request was quite specific in its language. The cover letter proposed a “general increase” in commercial space and residential units “across the town center” so the SE Quadrant could get its “proportionate” share of 300,000 sf of commercial space. While Galvin termed this “an error” when testifying in February 2010, his group never filed a revise, clarifying statement with the City.

Here is the relevant portion of the Sammamish Review article, including quotes from the Quadrant’s consultant and author of the letter confirming Galvin and his group wanted to increase the size of the entire Town Center:

The proposal states “generally the proposed change is to increase the residential and commercial density of all the properties (within the Sammamish Town Center) from that proposed by the City of Sammamish in the adopted Town Center Plan.”

The proposal also says “the current total 600,000 square foot cap on office and retail needs to be adjusted. The solution is to increase the overall allowance for commercial square footage in the Town Center to a point that would allow for a proportionate increase within the SE Quadrant.

Community Development Director Kamuron Gurol said the proposal, taken at face value, seems to say that the council should approve density increases in both the southeast quadrant and other areas of the Town Center.

But in talking with the landowners in person, their intention becomes less clear, Gurol said.

Gareth Roe, director of land-use planning for BCRA, confirmed that the proposal was intended to encourage the council to add density throughout the Town Center.

“It doesn’t mean that whole thing’s going to be paved over and it’s going to look like downtown Bellevue,” Roe qualified. “It’s going to be scaled appropriately.”

As for how much extra density is needed in the other quadrants, Roe didn’t say. He said factors like topography and the market would drive that number.

Roe said the group doesn’t believe there is enough allowed density in the current Town Center plan to entice developers and make the center a reality.

Galvin Tuesday night also accused the Sammamish Review of not publishing his letters on the topic, which is clearly not true as reported here. One of these letters said he wanted to take the allocation from other parts of the Town Center.

That’s what Galvin wants to do this time, or to take it from a pool the City has held in reserve.

Given changing conditions since 2009, this is OK. The Lake Washington School District property was allocated 90,000 sf and 192 residential units. But as I previously noted, when Ace Hardware approached LWSD to build there, it was told there was no interest; the site will be used for a school. LWSD is essentially holding hostage this allocation, and it should be reallocated elsewhere, perhaps to the SE Quadrant.

The City Council was correct to overrule Staff and advance the SE Quadrant Docket Request. It’s too bad Galvin can’t control his temper tantrums. He finally is making progress on what he wants. But he is content to live in the past and not move forward.

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