Sammamish Council continues to debate goals of Town Center

Halfway through its process of establishing an economic development plan for its Town Center, the Sammamish Council is not seeing eye to eye.

The white dots outline the Town Center area in Sammamish.

The white dots outline the Town Center area in Sammamish.

Halfway through its process of establishing an economic development plan for its Town Center, the Sammamish Council is not seeing eye to eye.

The council viewed a presentation July 15 from consultant Chris Mefford of Community Attributes, Inc., which raised more questions than answers.

“I’m afraid we’re starting to go down a road without that joint vision and claim success without knowing where we’re headed,” Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama said.

Mefford’s presentation focused on creating a pioneer strategy that would jumpstart interest in development by providing incentives to those who choose to build first within the Town Center confines — an area bounded on the north by East Main Street, on south by SE Eighth Street, on the east by 233rd Avenue and on the west by 222nd Street.

In an effort to promote interest, Mefford suggested reducing tight restrictions in the Town Center Plan, including reducing the structured parking requirement from 80 percent to 50 percent and reducing the stormwater volume standard from 100 percent to 60 percent.

The suggestions drew ire from some on the council, including councilmember Nancy Whitten.

“It’s clear that the measures that they’re recommending are inconsistent, contradictory of the visioning we had with the Town Center,” she said. “We’re supposed to be green and environmentally sensitive.”

Councilmember Don Gerend, who has been involved with Town Center discussions since they began in 2004, noted reducing regulations wouldn’t be detrimental to the environment.

“Keep in mind that 50 percent structured parking is more environmentally friendly than any suburban town center or development that I know of,” he said.

Councilmember John Curley questioned the overall goals of the Town Center. “We’re on a very unique island here where so many people race off to go make money and comeback and enjoy a bedroom community,” he said. “Show me a pie chart the market will race in here to supply retail to a limited amount of people.”

Mefford assured the council that if they agreed to providing incentives, reducing regulations and provide affordable housing, the Town Center would thrive.

“You can leave things as they are and and wait for the market to come to you, or you can be a little more aggressive and go to the market where it is right now,” he said. “Do you see opportunity in those people that are going away? Do you see that as an opportunity or an insurmountable hurdle? I see it as opportunity.”

In an attempt to gain a clearer vision, councilmember Tom Vance, who is also the chair of the Economic Development Committee, motioned to direct staff to present to council a set of actionable steps to support development of the Town Center Plan.

The motion passed in a 5-2 vote, with Whitten and Valderrama opposing.

Vance said the motion moves the process down the road and will allow the council to gain more information on some of the clouded issues. He said they hope to conclude the process by the end of 2013.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

(L-R): Hyunwoo Chong, Chase Hamdan, Arnav Rajashekara, Christopher Tebben, Grace Hopkins, Henry Cobb, Ellie Sampson, Vincent Chung, Ruoya Huang, Christopher Hamdan (courtesy of Eastside Catholic)
Ten Eastside Catholic students earn National Merit Scholarship commendation

The honored students share their aspirations and advice for younger students.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

file photo
Downtown Issaquah to host art-centric event Sunday, Nov. 28

Artists Sunday will feature artists from around the region.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

King County Councilmember-elect Sarah Perry and a celebration photo, courtesy of her campaign manager Robby Paige.
Sarah Perry pushes 20-year incumbent out of King County Council District 3 position

By Hannah Saunders, For Sound Publishing Following her first campaign for a… Continue reading

left: Russell Joe, right: Rose Zibrat (screenshot from King County website)
Russell Joe leads Rose Zibrat in city council race

Election results will be certified on Nov. 23.

courtesy of Derek Bauer
Issaquah native writes and directs new movie with Universal Pictures, titled “Two Yellow Lines”

The Northwest roadtrip movie centers around PTSD, forgiveness and the importance of connection.

Most Read