October Update

The summer has been quiet, but there have been some significant developments:

  1. An extension for our first brief for the appeal of our federal case to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court was granted. The new date is October 19th. The extension has allowed more time to improve the brief which is nearly ready for submittal.

  2. The Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) returned its decision on the South Segment 2A Shoreline Substantial Development Permit (SSDP) appeal on September 14; spending 2 ½ months to decide against SHO’s issues. The decision incorrectly argued that SHO (1) had failed to make its case because the County testified that it had not used an illegal wetland buffer exemption and then (2) had attempted to make arguments not relevant to the issues before the board.

  3. SHO filed a request for reconsideration to the SHB on September 23. The request respectfully pointed out the errors made by the 3-member board, but the request was denied on October 4. The next step in the SSDP appeal process is to file an appeal in King County Superior Court.

  4. Earlier this summer, mesh screening attached to the County’s chain-link fence by the County in the completed North section of the ELST was torched. At a meeting on September 21 requested by a resident, Kevin Brown, KC Parks Director, refused to reinstall the screening which was providing some privacy for neighboring homeowners. The screening originally was offered by the County to replace the privacy lost when the County removed 100’s of trees to move the trail 5 feet closer to the lake.

As stated above, SHO needs to prepare to file the South Segment 2A SSDP appeal to Superior Court. This appeal is administrative, meaning that a judge will be asked whether the SHB properly applied the law. While the preparation of the appeal will not be extensive, SHO believes that this appeal should be done by an attorney.

SHO believes that continuation of the appeal process is important to the residents of both Section 2A and 2B. Winning the appeal will keep the trail centered on the interim trail and reduce its width from 18 feet to 14 feet within all critical area buffers. These buffers are numerous in both sections.

When SHO started the trail “fight” we believed that asking $500 per parcel along the trail would be adequate and reasonable. What we did not anticipate was that only 35% of the people owning these parcels would contribute. Therefore, if you or your neighbors have not already contributed, SHO asks that you pay your share NOW!

This “fight” can be won. Although King County claims to own the trail right-of-way, it actually owns almost none of it. By not fighting, we are all letting the County bully us into doing and paying for whatever it tells us to do. It is our property; we need to fight for our rights!!!

SHO Board

July Update

First off, thanks to all trailside residents who attended one of our recent update meetings.  Both meetings were punctuated by lively discussions concerning our activities and legal battles.  Best news was the influx of many new faces as we continue to spread the word on SHO’s activities and more trailside residents get involved.

One outcome from these meetings was a request to clarify SHO’s exact goals concerning the trail.  Those goals are included below.

First, as a quick update, here is a review of recent activities:

  1. We submitted the appeal of our federal case to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court in June. Our first brief is due September 19th.
  2. The South Segment 2A SSDP Appeal in front of the Shorelines Hearings Board was recently completed. King County, Sammamish City, and SHO submitted closing arguments July 1st and we hope to have a decision from the SHB within two weeks of that date.
  3. On July 5th, the Sammamish City Council voted unanimously to withdraw from a 12-year Inter-Local Agreement (ILA) with King County regarding permitting of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST).  This reflects the city’s disapproval with how the county has been handling trail development and gives the city full review authority over the remaining middle segment, South Segment 2B.  For more information on this decision by the City Council and what it means, click this link to go to Scott Hamilton’s Sammamish blog.  

The end of the ILA between the City and King County is very significant.  Our efforts to impact the political process last fall are starting to pay off.  Thanks goes out to all trailside residents.

SHO Goals for East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST)

SHO supports the development and paving of the ELST as a community asset.  SHO also supports preserving and maintaining the environment within the shoreline jurisdiction.  The following are the SHO goals for the ELST: 

Minimize impact to the environment and trailside property owners

  • The ELST needs to be centered on the existing interim trail to minimize removal of trees and other vegetation
  • The total width of the ELST must not be greater than 16 feet (12 feet of paving with 2-foot gravel shoulders on each side as recommended by the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 2012)
  • The total width of the ELST must not be greater than the existing interim trail in critical areas and their buffers
  • Width of impact beyond the trail footprint due to construction must be held to a minimum

Legally establish that King County has a surface easement for trail use only

  • The easement needs to be centered on the existing interim trail
  • The width of the easement in the prescriptive easement areas must not be greater than the width used by the railroad
  • Uses other than for a trail are prohibited; e.g. no power lines, no sewer lines, no light rail
  • Eliminate King County’s requirement for special use permits and fees

Send any questions to SHO5.org@gmail.com

Have a great summer.