Sammamish Council Retreat: Day 2, Part 1: Connectivity, Town Center, variations and other things

Jan. 15, 2016: Day 2 of the Sammamish City Council Retreat.

Connectivity

Greg Reynolds of Timberline advocated for opening the 42nd Street barricade for safety reasons to facilitate emergency service access. Reynolds pointed out police don’t have the equipment to open the barricade and fire and aid services have had trouble getting through the gate.

Town Center Update

There has been interest expressed for restaurants and potentially Swedish Medical in the complex under development by Metropolitan Market consortium. (This is the one on the Northwest corner of SE 4th and 228th.)

More contemporary building styles approved as opposed to the Northwest style recommended  by the Planning Commission (of which this writer was a part) resulted from this desire not being included in the final regulations adopted by the City Council. Members Don Gerend, Tom Odell and Kathy Huckabay were on the City Council that approved the final regulations.

In the Southeast Quadrant, where the “Berlin Wall” storm water retention vault is located, is supposed to have landscaping to hide the wall, which is about 20 feet set back from the sidewalk.

The Commission envisioned a 50 foot set back but the final codes allow a 20 foot setback. The code was silent about water retention vaults and its height.

SE 4th St, from 228th to 218th, which runs down the center of the Western part of the Town Center, is about 30% designed.

Variations

Variations granted by staff for development projects became a controversial topic last year as development approvals were appealed  by citizens, often at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars or even more. The City has lost a few key decisions. The topic was put on the Retreat agenda on a 7-0 votes, the only such topic to gain this level of support.

Staff used the Conner-Jarvis development as the example to explain the process to the Council. This was one of the projects appealed; a decision is supposed to be handed down Jan. 21.

Traffic-cutting through neighborhoods and traffic congestion at 43rd and 228th were traffic concerns. Environmental issues also arose.

Staff said that the developer and neighbors provided different versions of the same neighborhood meetings.

Council adopted new, stronger tree retention standards in October based on prior public objections to cutting and clearing.

There is also a balance between what was characterized as realistic and unrealistic requests or demands by neighbors. There are also conflicting desires among interested homeowners over the same item.

Gerend said he should have gone to the neighborhood meeting with Conner-Jarvis to witness first hand the discussion. Staff has not attended to avoid influencing discussion or either party turning to staff, asking questions; the objective is to provide engagement between the developer and neighbors.

Neighbors may not hear about what variations may be granted during these meetings, staff indicated, even though these are supposed to be.

There is a legal distinction between variations (to standards) and variances (to zoning). Staff acknowledged that to citizens, this may be a distinction without a difference–but there is.

Public Participation

With the Retreat held in Tacoma instead of Suncadia across the Cascades Mountains, a half dozen citizens attended today-not many but more than historically attending.

The local newspapers did not attend.

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5 Responses to Sammamish Council Retreat: Day 2, Part 1: Connectivity, Town Center, variations and other things

  1. Chris Ross says:

    Great reporting. You are updating so many of us who couldn’t make the Retreat with important information.

  2. Ursie33@aol.com says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed.

  3. Melissa Grimaldi says:

    Very interesting that connectivity has been reported on since it is not on the agenda until 4:30 pm this afternoon?? Why bother publishing an agenda. Access to the NE 42nd St Opticom gate is available from the city staff to ALL emergency responders.

  4. cityhamilton says:

    The 42nd St. barricade issue came up during Public Comment.

  5. John Vasko says:

    Greg Reynolds is a Johnny one-note. The entire communities of Waterbrook and Hidden Ridge oppose his view and are adamantly opposed to opening the barrier on 42nd street. To do so would probably result in many accidents and injuries. The street below is unfit for large emergency vehicles in any case.

    Dr. John Vasko

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