The leading environmentalist in Sammamish supports a building moratorium.
Wally Pereyra, who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars restoring Ebright Creek on behalf on threatened Kokanee Salmon and similar amounts on other restoration and land use appeals, will miss tonight’s City Council meeting at which the subject will come up.
Pereyra issued a written statement, copying Sammamish Comment:
Unfortunately, due to a previous commitment, I will be unable to attend your meeting this evening Tuesday, September 20th and provide testimony regarding your agenda item 14 – Development Moratorium. I would appreciate the following be considered and entered as my comments on this issue.
I live at 148 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway SE in Sammamish and have been a resident at this address for 42 years. During that time period I have witnessed significant changes in Sammamish from a rural community east of Lake Sammamish to its present transition into an urban community. This transition has not been without its challenges both positive and negative which have impacted our citizens and the livability of our City.
In the last several years in part due to the livability of our area and its proximity to Seattle and Bellevue together with our Town Center development, Sammamish has experienced rapid growth which has impacted our City and its citizens. Unfortunately, the net results of this accelerated growth have not been good for the citizens of Sammamish. Our schools have become crowded, traffic congestion particularly at either end of the Plateau has increased significantly, significant trees have been lost, and our streams and wetlands have been degraded. Unfortunately, due to the substantial developments presently under construction, these impacts to the livability of our City and its citizens will certainly increase significantly going forward. This situation has myself and many other citizens in our City worried and apprehensive about the future of Sammamish.
Obviously growth has not paid for growth as we were promised under the GMA. This is unacceptable. To make matters worse, we don’t appear to have a handle on the solutions to these growth impacts nor their associated costs. Moreover, the citizens of Sammamish shouldn’t have to bear the direct or indirect costs associated with the impacts from these new developments and others which undoubtedly will be approved in the future. Growth needs to pay for growth.
I STRONGLY SUPPORT THE COUNCIL PROCEEDING WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BUILDING MORATORIUM.
In consideration of my concerns I am pleased to see that this evening the Council will take up the important subject of a building moratorium. In my mind and others it is imperative that the Council to halt this rapid growth until such time as we can be assured that our roads are able to handle the existing and future traffic, our schools will not become so crowded that our student’s education will suffer and that the increased runoff from these recent and future developments will NOT harm our important streams and wetlands and the fish and wildlife associated with them.
I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT THE COUNCIL ESTABLISH A CUTOFF DATE FOR NEW BUILDING APPLICATIONS AT THIS MEETING.
One of the concerns that I have heard expressed about considering a building moratorium is the likelihood that such an initiative would increase the number of building permits in anticipation of the Council action on a moratorium. While that is a real concern, it can be properly addressed by the establishment of a cutoff date at this meeting for consideration of any new development applications. This cutoff date would only be operative upon the Council’s final vote on a building moratorium. Establishing a cutoff date at this meeting would give the Council and City time to do the studies and due diligence necessary to define an appropriate building moratorium with the milestones etc necessary to insure that any future growth can be absorbed by our City without degrading our living environment or burdening the citizenry with unreasonable costs. If for any reason after reviewing studies, receiving testimony and discussions the Council chose to change the cutoff date to a later date, that could be accomplished as part of your final action on the building moratorium. But a building moratorium now would give you “the bright line in the sand” necessary to stop future development applications while you consider all aspects of a comprehensive building moratorium.
In summary I strongly support a building moratorium. Furthermore I strongly suggest that you establish a cutoff date for new building applications at this meeting to prevent a rush of applications while you work out the details of a comprehensive building moratorium.
Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts and suggestions regarding a building moratorium.