Moratorium runs into stiff opposition in Sammamish, especially for Town Center

Sammamish Comment LogoA vast majority of resident speaking before the Sammamish City Council Tuesday opposed the possibility of imposition of a building moratorium, particularly for the Town Center.

Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama surprised the Council last week by suggesting a 60-day study period to decide whether a moratorium should be adopted.

Opposition was particularly focused on the prospect of halting development of the Town Center. The plan for the TC evolved over 10 years. Development was then delayed by the Great Recession of 2008 and began only in 2015.

Much of the land is already under development, but there are still large swaths that have yet to reach the permit application stage.

A moratorium would threaten a $4m federal grant to reconstruct SE 4th Street and halt the addition of goods and services.

Ed Zercher, a property owner in the Town Center who was involved as a stakeholder throughout the planning process, argued in favor of continued development.

“I find it rather alarming,” he said of the prospective moratorium. “There was very thoughtful planning of the Town Center. There was a very dedicated planning commission that spent thousands of hours planning. The best way to keep Sammamish a bedroom community is to centralize residential development instead of residential sprawl. The Town Center does this. The Town Center has been more than a decade in the process.

“Stop giving the residents of Sammamish a reason to drive off the Plateau for goods and services.”

Liz Linquist, who lives on SE 20th, was representative of small property owners.

“We understood the value of R-4 zoning for our retirement. This equity is what we are counting on for the rest of our lives. Our wealth is in the house,” she said.

Linquist has a signed agreement with a small developer. “The rumor of a moratorium has already hurt us. The buyer canceled an $8,000 survey. Individual homeowners and taxpayers will be severely hurt. There must be a waiver for small property owners.”

Jennifer Kim, representing a civic group called Save Sammamish (which can be found on Facebook), spoke with a Power Point presentation, arguing that Sammamish is already close to fulfilling its mandated targets under the state Growth Management Act and city Comprehensive Plan.

Her Power Point was not included in the Council’s information packet posted on-line. Sammamish Comment has requested a copy for posting to this column, at which time it will be synopsized.

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3 Responses to Moratorium runs into stiff opposition in Sammamish, especially for Town Center

  1. John Vasko says:

    he should have added, “ And besides, my money is at stake.” John Vasko

  2. Bob Holt says:

    For once I’m agreeing with a developer. Maybe cats and dogs will be living together next. The TC has been already studied to death and the wheels have already been set into motion…so I’m still puzzled why Mr. V wanted a 60-day moratorium to “study” the thing some more. Geez, it’s already in full swing and they ought to just get the thing done now. Regardless of how anyone might feel about the TC it’s gonna get built.

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