Year in review | Sammamish grows, and tries to keep up with growth, in 2016

A look at the people and events that made news over the last year

Klahanie is officially incorporated

The city of Sammamish grows to a population north of 60,000 residents with the annexation of the 2-square-mile Klahanie area, adding nearly 11,000 people to the city. Voters of the area twice rejected joining Issaquah in 2005 and 2014, with the latter vote failing by a mere 32 votes.

New faces around Sammamish City Hall

The Sammamish City Council welcomes two new faces to the board table. Tom Hornish replaces outgoing Mayor Tom Vance in the Position 6 chair and Christie Malchow takes over for retiring Councilmember Nancy Whitten, a 12-year member of the council, in the Position 2 seat.

The council elects Don Gerend, the longest-sitting member of the council, as mayor of Sammamish. Ramiro Valderrama is elected deputy mayor.

City debuts SE 4th design details

Sammamish residents get a glimpse of what Southeast Fourth Street may look like as part of the city’s long-planned Sammamish Town Center during an open house at Pine Lake Middle School. The plan features an expanded roadway to include sidewalks on either side, planting strips, bike lanes and a center planter bed, which could be replaced with a center turn lane.

Lake Washington School Board sends $398 million bond to voters

The Lake Washington School District board of directors approve sending a $398 million bond to the April 26 special election ballot. The bond would provide funding for expansion of Margaret Mead Elementary in Sammamish.

Yazici retires as city manager

Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici retires from his position of 15 years. Yazici was first hired as a public works director and finance director. He became the city’s third city manager in 2001. Lyman Howard replaces Yazici as city manager.

Hearing examiner rules on ELST

A hearing examiner rules on the East Lake Sammamish Trail permit appeals, striking some conditions from the permit the city of Sammamish issued in July 2015. Regarding trees, King County agrees to “tighten the clearing and grubbing limits.” Regarding the stormwater vault, the county agrees to strike the planned vault from the project’s design and move a planned retaining wall further east. The hearing examiner quashes the condition requiring the county to manage runoff from nearby properties, rules a stop sign at 206th Avenue Southeast should halt traffic vehicles and give trail users the right of way, and rules that the county must adhere to the city’s 100 percent plant survival rate.

City appeals decision on ELST

The Sammamish City Council moves to appeal the hearing examiner’s February ruling on the East Lake Sammamish Trail. The appeal is in regards to the placement of a stop sign at 206th Avenue Southeast and the East Lake Sammamish Trail intersection, as well as to the county’s obligations to working with the city regarding drainage issues to nearby properties of the trail. Later in the month, King County appeals the East Lake Sammamish Trail permit process, arguing the city’s hearing examiner “did not have jurisdiction” to hear the July 2015 permit appeals.

New look for water, sewer provider

The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District rebrands as Sammamish Plateau Water, debuting a new logo and website.

CWU becomes a candidate for Mars Hill building

The city of Sammamish names Central Washington University as a potential option to fill the vacant building previously occupied by Mars Hill Church. The council unanimously authorizes the city manager to pursue discussions with the university on a potential partnership.

Community members wear ‘Red for Ed’

Students, parents and community members donned ‘Red for Ed’ and waved signs outside of Mead Elementary encouraging voters to “Vote YES” on the Lake Washington School District’s $398 million bond, which was set to appear on the April 26 special election ballot.

Sammamish woman arrested for alleged theft from Skyline booster club

A Sammamish woman was arrested for allegedly embezzling $170,000 from the Skyline High School Booster Club. The woman served as the club treasurer from 2008 until January 2015.

LWSD school bond passes

The Lake Washington School district bond of $398 million to reduce overcrowding and enhance aging facilities passes with over 65 percent voter approval.

Sammamish Community YMCA opens

The Sammamish Community YMCA opens its brand new $33 million facility. Covering 60,000 square feet, the community center features a cardio area, a community kitchen, children’s play rooms, a track, public and private locker rooms with showers, a hot tub, a lap pool and a leisure pool.

Finance, IT director passes away

Joe Guinasso, the finance and IT director for the city of Sammamish, passes away at the age of 49 after battling colon cancer. Guinasso was diagnosed with stage-four cancer in February 2014.

Sammamish Symphony Orchestra director passes away

Robert Joseph Scott, the man who built community orchestras in Bellevue and Sammamish, passes away from cancer at the age of 71. Scott served as the director of the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra for over 15 years.

City revokes ILA with King County

The Sammamish City Council unanimously votes to revoke its interlocal agreement with King County regarding permitting of the final segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. The agreement had historically allowed the county to process its own land-use applications by applying Sammamish city code.

Residents sign petition calling for responsible growth

Nearly 1,500 Sammamish residents sign an online petition at calling for “controlled and thoughtful growth” within the city.

“We are alarmed by the clear cutting of trees, lack of communication by the city officials to the community regarding developments before they happen and the large number of houses being built,” the petition reads.

Sammamish debuts Virtual Town Hall

The city of Sammamish unveils its Virtual Town Hall on its website July 27. Billed as an online forum for civic engagement, users may engage in dialogue about city topics such as growth and transportation through online posts.

Residents sound off on growth

Over 100 Sammamish residents turn out for the city’s roundtable discussion on growth at City Hall. Feedback given by residents included calls for infrastructure built up front, discontinuing the issuing of permits until growth is under control, incurring debt to fix infrastructure, phasing in development over a two-decade period, protecting green spaces, stronger enforcement of rules already in place and pushing back to King County for more support with county roads.

Hearings board rules on ELST

The Shorelines Hearings Board rules on the East Lake Sammamish Trail, siding with King County on several of the disputed conditions regarding the segment of the trail running from Southeast 43rd Way to Southeast 33rd Street. The city of Sammamish opts not to appeal.

Sammamish police chief steps down

After seven years serving the community, Sammamish Police Chief Nate Elledge steps down from his position. Michelle Bennett takes over, becoming Sammamish’s first female police chief since the city incorporated in 1999.

Symphony Orchestra celebrates its silver anniversary

The Sammamish Symphony Orchestra begins its 25th anniversary season, opening the year performing Schubert’s 8th Symphony. The symphony performs on the Sammamish plateau, in downtown Bellevue and at various locations in the Seattle area.

Sammamish says no to ST3

One month before the November election, the Sammamish City Council votes to oppose Sound Transit’s $54 billion ST3 transportation package after hearing from speakers both favoring and opposing the measure. King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci was on hand to speak on behalf of the Mass Transit Now! campaign, while Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace spoke against ST3.

CWU board visits Mars Hill building

The Central Washington University board of trustees visits Sammamish to tour the Mars Hill building and meet with the Sammamish City Council. A week after the meeting, the Central Washington board directs President James Gaudino to develop a plan for the university to come to Sammamish, though no lease is officially signed.

Sen. Hill passes away

Sen. Andy Hill dies after battling lung cancer at the age of 54.

National election overshadows local results

A win for Donald Trump in the November presidential election steals the spotlight on election day. The $54 billion Sound Transit 3 measure to expand light rail, commuter-rail and bus service is approved with a 54.05 percent turnout across King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Issaquah’s $50 million traffic improvement bond draws 54.08 percent approval, falling short of the necessary 60 percent voter approval.

Council sets deadline for Mars Hill building lease

Still without a signed lease agreement from Central Washington University, the Sammamish City Council moves to explore alternative options for the property, formerly occupied by Mars Hill Church, should the city not have a signed agreement from Central Washington by the council’s January retreat.

Pigott donates 20 acres to Sammamish

Sammamish resident Mary Pigott donates a 20-acre section of Big Rock Park to the city of Sammamish. The donation marks the second parcel of property that Pigott donated to the city since 2010.