Drivers slow on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road Southeast to get a better look at stacks of trees on what’s called the Conner-Jarvis development.
Not long ago, this area in the 4100 block was wooded with fir, cedar, pine and maple trees. Further back, pastures led to Laughing Jacobs Lake, headwaters to one of three streams that support the rare Lake Sammamish kokanee spawning run.
Now, the 45-acre site is being subdivided into 115 single family lots. And though it might seem like development has razed the land, it is not breaking any rules.
And that new, restrictive tree ordinance the Sammamish City Council passed in late 2015 does nothing for this site.
In a recent response to community concern regarding the loss of trees, the city of Sammamish released a statement assuring residents the developer’s actions are not violating city code or law.
“[C]ity officials say the Conner Jarvis development is following all applicable rules,” according to the statement.
The subdivision applicant, Conner-Jarvis LLC, submitted its development application to the city in July2014.
This was before the Sammamish City Council approved its emergency tree regulations, enacted in October 2014 after a development on 228th Avenue Southeast at Southeast 20th Street caused an uproar when trees noticeably disappeared along the city’s main arterial.
Under the old regulations, developers were only required to save 25 percent of the trees on the property.
The new regulations, however, require a retention of between 35-50 percent — depending on zoning —and replacement of all significant trees.