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Virtual Town Hall
Open Town Hall

How is new development in Sammamish affecting your life?

Thank you for participating!

Thanks to those who contributed to this important online discussion of growth and development in Sammamish. With over 1,000 visitors to Virtual Town Hall, and 410 responses (266 registered; 144 unregistered), the growth topic drew the equivalent of 20.5 hours of public comment.

SUMMARY

An expanded summary of the feedback received can be found at the end of this outcome statement, but here are the primary themes:

  • Residents love Sammamish for its friendliness, excellent schools, safe neighborhoods and natural beauty.
  • But there’s been too much growth, too fast, since the economy picked up.
  • Roads and other infrastructure have fallen behind population growth.
  • The traffic is terrible.
  • We need to slow down and let infrastructure catch up.
  • We’re losing too many trees to development
  • New development should fit in with the character of existing neighborhoods

The City Council and city staff are reviewing the feedback we’ve received from this Virtual Town Hall, from the Round Table Meeting on Growth held on Sept. 8, and from many other sources. As an initial response, the city is going move up its Transportation Master Planning Process to the first quarter of 2017. That’s about nine months earlier than the original schedule. The city will also give great weight to this feedback as we create or refresh our Urban Forestry Plan, Land Acquisition Plan and development regulations.

All of these initiatives and processes depend on robust public input. As we have in years past, we encourage all residents to take part in the many public meetings that help inform the development of appropriate policy. To stay abreast of the schedule, please read the monthly city newsletter, check the city calendar on our website, and sign up for email alerts on the topic of growth.

Keep in mind that the city has always had a Six-Year Transportation Plan – and many other plans – that have been updated per the requirements of the law. Right now, for example, the city, in accordance with those plans, is scheduled to improve Issaquah-Fall City Road, Sahalee Way, portions of Issaquah-Pine Lake Road and several other road sections. But the need for public input never stops. That’s how we adjust priorities, schedules and investment choices.

Here are some links and resources for you to consider as our conversation on growth and development continues:

  • Tree Management
  • Learn about the GMA
  • Urban Forestry Plan – We will add a link when planning starts in 2017
  • Land Acquisition Plan – We will add a link when planning starts.  
  • Transportation Master Plan – We will add a link when planning starts in 2017.
  • Sign up for email alerts on the topic of Growth at www.sammamish.us and follow the prompts to sign up for the Growth topic. (NOTE: We are still transitioning from our old website to our new website. The “mailing list” function may take a few more days to implement.) 
  • Subscribe to Virtual Town Hall announcements, if you haven't already, to be notified of future online engagement opportunities

Due to the Growth Management Act (GMA), the property rights held by all Americans, and the weight of many, many court rulings, there are limits to what a city can do to slow down growth. As tedious as that may be to hear, it’s the truth. So, the city hopes this ongoing dialogue will bring some new considerations into play as we look for ways to mitigate and manage growth.

Here are some of the ideas produced by the Virtual Town Hall:

  • The city should buy land to preserve trees and open space.
  • Accelerate the construction and improvement of roads.
  • Require tree buffers between roads and new development sites.

Thank you for coming to the Virtual Town Hall on Growth. As we continue the conversation and refine our options, we will likely invite you to another Virtual Town Hall in the not too distant future. We hope you’ll join us for that one as well!


EXPANDED SUMMARY

As promised, here is the expanded summary of feedback we received through Virtual Town Hall:

Question 1 – What do you like about living in Sammamish?

  • Residents like the quiet, safe, residential environment in Sammamish
  • They value the great schools, natural beauty and small-town feel of the city
  • They value Sammamish as a friendly, family-oriented community

Question 2 – What do you dislike about living in Sammamish?

  • Too much growth, too fast
  • Roads and infrastructure have fallen behind population growth
  • The traffic is terrible and getting worse
  • Schools are too crowded
  • Too much clear cutting to make room for ever more homes
  • Development is robbing us of the natural beauty that attracted us to Sammamish

Question 3 – What impact is growth and development in Sammamish having on you?

  • Traffic is horrendous
  • The roads can’t accommodate the traffic
  • Too many children in the schools
  • Development is changing the character of the city
  • Clear cutting makes my kids cry
  • Development makes us want to move
  • Too much construction noise
  • The loss of trees makes me very sad

Question 4 – How should the city balance the importance of trees and the environment while preserving the rights of property owners to develop and extract value from their land?

  • Exercise more control over the builders
  • Stop building for two years while you build roads and plant trees
  • City should buy land and preserve the trees
  • Enforce the tree ordinance
  • Fight to change the zoning
  • There should be a moratorium on new development until infrastructure catches up
  • Don’t allow big houses close together on small lots
  • The rights of residents should trump the rights of absentee developers
  • Keep a barrier of trees between roads and the new developments
  • The Growth Management Act needs to go away
  • Reduce the number of houses per acre
  • Enforce existing regulations
  • Allow fewer variances
  • Implement very strong development standards

Question 5 – What do you think the city should do to manage development?

  • Slow it down
  • Work to change the Growth Management Act
  • Post plans online so residents can learn about projects earlier in the process
  • Keep an open dialogue with residents as you are now
  • We need a moratorium
  • Require developers to preserve more trees
  • Let infrastructure catch up
  • Public transportation should be a priority
  • Make new developments fit in with existing neighborhoods
  • Encourage green buildings