Just how cozy is the city with STCA?

Editorial

Kellie-Stickney-cropped-221x300

Kellie Stickney Communications Manager

Just how cozy is Town Center developer STCA with the Sammamish city administration?

Sammamish Comment has been reporting aspects of the relationship between the developer, administration and certain members of the city council for more than a year.

Now, The Comment discovered that the city administration collaborated with STCA to promote their project using taxpayer money at the same time the new concurrency model was being developed by the city.

This casts an appearance of a conflict of interest because a realistic concurrency system may block new development under certain circumstances, including the Town Center. STCA is the largest developer of the Town Center.  

The council included the Town Center in the moratorium so it will be subject to the new concurrency.

It is our view that it is improper for city staff to collaborate with STCA and at the same time develop a concurrency model that may block it.  

Indeed, on February 28, Kendra Breiland, the city’s concurrency consultant, met in Bellevue with STCA for “coordination.”  

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council, Sammamish Comment, STCA, Town Center | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Breaking News: Sammamish prepared to award contract for new, interim city manager

Lyman Howard

The Sammamish City Council is prepared to award a contract Monday, at a special council meeting, for an interim city manager.

This follows an executive session at the start of the meeting “to evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment and to review the performance of a public employee.”

The only public employee position the city council has direct authority over it the city manager.

This means current city manager Lyman Howard appears on his way out.

Howard’s departure has been rumored for months. At this point, it’s unclear if he is resigning or will be fired.

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Posted in City Council, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

It’s about transparency

Editorial

It’s about transparency.

On Tuesday, Sammamish Comment published a post about Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard sending an email to staff, with a CC to the city attorney, to talk about a Developers Agreement with STCA, the principal developer of the Town Center.

City Manager Lyman Howard labeled the email Attorney Client Privilege, even though it was addressed to his assistant and only copied to the city attorney and even though it did not ask for legal advice.

Labeling the email Attorney Client Privilege had but one purpose: to keep the email from being produced in a Public Records Request.

The City Council, then in power in November 2017, was not copied on the email.

After The Comment revealed this email and drew the obvious conclusions, Valderrama, typically, tried to cover his tracks.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council, Sammamish Comment | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

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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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Valderrama, Howard sought a Developer Agreement with STCA without council authorization

Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama and City Manager Lyman Howard last year wanted to negotiate a Developer Agreement with Town Center developer STCA, without the required council approval, Sammamish Comment learned.

Ramiro Valderrama

The revelation is in an email (click to read it) dated Nov. 21, 2017, that the city manager designated “attorney client privileged.” The email was recently determined to be not privileged and released in a public records request.

The email was addressed to another city employee and cc’d to the city attorney and a second city employee. Howard’s labeling the email attorney-client privilege is intended to bar the email from public disclosure.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council, Sammamish Comment, STCA, Town Center | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Deputy City Manager resigns

Jessi Bon, Deputy City Manager, resigned today, as indicated in the email below sent to staff.

Bon gives family reasons for taking a job at Mercer Island as Director of Parks and Recreation.

The email ends with “Stay strong”.

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Posted in City Staff, Government, Sammamish | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s time to approve concurrency plan, lift moratorium

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

Commentary

It’s time to wrap up the Sammamish traffic concurrency plan and move forward.

It’s time to lift the building moratorium.

The City Council spent a good portion of the meeting last night taking another crack at changes to the concurrency plan approved May 15.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and member Chris Ross moved to reconsider the controversial May 15 plan that was adopted.

What was expected to be a major effort to reconsider turned out to be nothing more than a tweak here and there.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments