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Sammamish Drops Appeal and Council Reacts

Posted on Jun 17, 2022 in:
  • Advocacy
  • Industry Issues
  • Growth Management
  • Builders Councils
  • RBC

In 2018/19, Sammamish adopted traffic concurrency regulations governing segments and corridors between intersections. Former Sammamish Mayor and Councilmember Don Gerend appealed the Ordinance to the Growth Management Hearings Board. The Board invalidated the Ordinance for several reasons, including inadequate SEPA analysis. In response, Sammamish adopted a moratorium and issued a Determination of Significance, claiming that an EIS and development halt were necessary to correct the errors the Board identified. However, Sammamish’s process took far longer than the Compliance Schedule set by the Board. Sammamish maintained broad moratoria on new traffic concurrency certificates beyond the Compliance Date, arguing that the Board had no authority to review them unless Gerend filed a new Petition for Review. Gerend argued that the moratoria were material to whether Sammamish had actually achieved compliance. The Board agreed, invalidating two such moratoria, and finally, including a recommendation to Governor Inslee to impose sanctions on Sammamish for thwarting the compliance process and the Board’s authority.
Sammamish dropped its moratoria but also appealed the Board’s decision to the Superior Court, and then sought review to the Court of Appeals. Sammamish and Gerend (joined now by developers of the Sammamish Town Center) submitted extensive briefing to the Court of Appeals. On May 10, 2022, on the heels of recent changes to the membership of Sammamish City Council, a 4-2 majority voted to revoke the decision to proceed with Alternative 4 under the EIS Sammamish conducted, the most comprehensive, expensive, and ultimately burdensome option for development. Unless another alternative is later chosen, this essentially means Sammamish has adopted the no action alternative. On June 7, 2022 the Council voted 4-3 to withdraw Sammamish’s appeal of the Gerend case, and on June 14th, Sammamish filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal. The Board’s decision will stand. In the wake of this decision, two Councilmembers who voted against withdrawing the appeal have resigned from Council, Mayor Malchow and Councilmember Moran.

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