Many of the residents who attended the final City Council meeting about the Sammamish Town Center were disgruntled, to say the least. It has been grueling for everyone involved, but we hope they hang with the process.
The council on Monday voted 7-0 to approve the Town Center Plan — with numerous amendments. The whole document is an amendment to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the over-arching document that guides development within the city.
Discussion and debate of proposed amendments to the original plan took the council more than nine hours over two sessions. During last week’s meeting, Councilman Jack Barry pointed out that in total, the process has taken three years and nine months, and that there have been more than 50 public meetings about the subject.
For the most part, those who are unhappy with the plan live in the Town Center and either A) Don’t want to feel forced out by increasing taxes, or, B) Want to develop their property and feel held back by policies in the plan.
“We know that growth will happen, even if we sometimes wish it wouldn’t,” Mayor Lee Fellinge observed.
One citizen uttered the old adage “You just can’t fight City Hall.”
Perhaps, but the real culprit is the growth that Fellinge referred to — cities are required by the Growth Management act to absorb new residents and provide places for those people to live.
While no decision would have ultimately made everyone happy, the citizens who sat on volunteer committees, council and city staff members certainly are to be commended for their diligent work over the past few years.
And, whether residents like the council’s plan or not, they were elected to make tough decisions like this one.
The Town Center Plan is just the first step toward shaping the face of the city. Next, city staff, the Planning Commission and the council will tackle the creation of development regulations and zoning, which will go into a much more specific level of detail. And, after that is done, proposed projects will each have to go through their own approval process.
Actual construction is years out, but we encourage residents to stay dialed in to the Town Center process in the meantime.