As you probably are aware, construction has started on South Segment 2A of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) — the section from SE 33rd street south to the Sammamish/Issaquah city limit. This is despite SHO having appealed issuance of Shoreline Substantial Development (SSDP), first to the city then to the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB). This is to provide you with an update concerning that.
SHO thus far has been unable to convince the City to stop construction of the ELST in the critical area buffers of Segment 2A, even though city environmental codes are being violated. The County explicitly stated in its SSDP application that a buffer exemption was taken. The buffer exemption eliminated the crossing of wetland buffers. With the exemption, the wetland buffers terminate at the east edge of the existing interim ELST. Then, before the SHB, the County stated under oath that a buffer exemption was not taken. This means that the improved ELST will cross wetland buffers without proper analysis of its impact on the environment. This analysis would have been required if the exemption had not been claimed in the first place.
We thank those who spoke at the December 6 City Council meeting. SHO will continue this plea at the January 3 meeting and we encourage others to speak as well.
SHO talked with its legal council last week about our appeal of the SHB decision to King County Superior Court. We were advised that the court was at best likely to rule that the SHB had made a procedural error when it claimed that our arguments were new issues (which they were not). This ruling would send the SSDP back to the SHB to re-hear our arguments. This would take months while the Segment 2A construction would continue. In Superior Court and before the SHB, King County would be arguing that since construction is taking place why argue about the validity of the SSDP. With the likelihood of “winning” being at best 50%, SHO decided to dismiss its appeal.
Legal council also advised SHO not to wait until the permit is granted for Segment 2B, the middle section. We need to push hard early and document via e-mail and letters what we believe is wrong.
On December 28, the City declared the County’s SSDP application complete and opened a 30-day public comment period that ends on January 27. Everyone in Segment 2B needs to examine the plans to determine its impact on their property. The following is the link to the County’s ELST website:
To access the plans, click on “60% Design Plans posted for South Samm B and Inglewood Hill” under “Latest news.” Then, click on “South Sammamish B Segment (In Design)” to download the actual plans. This is a very large file (about 100 mb) and takes quite a while to download, so be patient. When comparing the plan with the portion of the ELST crossing your property, the stakes flush with the ground and painted pink are the proposed centerline.
You will also note on the County’s ELST website that there are opportunities for meetings here in Sammamish with county officials. Please sign up and voice your opinions at one of these meetings.
Your public comment needs to be sent to the City, attention: Lindsey Ozbolt – email@example.com
You also should consider making public comment before the Sammamish City Council.
SHO believes that a trail of minimum width prescribed by national guidelines and strictly aligned with the existing interim trail would solve most of the environmental and privacy issues for Segment 2B.
Meanwhile, SHO is continuing its appeal of the Federal Court decision on ownership in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.