Docket Request 2

Sammamish Municipal Code Development Regulation Text Amendment

Applicants: Mary Wictor and Mary Johnson

Proposed Changes:

The applicants request the following changes to the existing development regulations:

  • 21A.80.030(1)(a)(iii) – Add landslide and/or geohazard as valid sending sites or include Inglewood and Tamarack as historic neighborhood areas for Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs).
  • 21A.80 – Modify the TDR program so that it can be utilized right away.
  • 21A.25.030 – Add a Minimum Lot Size.

 

Additionally, the applicants request that the following areas be addressed through modifications or additions to the development regulations:

Development Issues

  • Add regulation(s) about lots, parcels, or tracts marked as UNBUILDABLE (e.g., as shown in King County Parcel Viewer).
  • Restrict development occurring as in-fill, development that will impact adjacent properties, and development above/beside trees, septic systems, erosion areas and landslide areas.
  • Create new regulations to deal with west-slope areas having one or more critical areas undergoing infill.
  • Establish a city-wide tracking system for slides that occur.

 

Ecosystem Preservation

  • Add regulations that preserve and connect pollinator and wildlife habitats via protected or preserved public and private open space, utility rights-of-way, riparian corridors, wetland buffers, pollinator habitat or corridors and protected critical areas or other features.
  • Add regulations that protect habitat and habitat corridors used for or potentially used by wildlife, salmonids and pollinators from the impacts of development.
  • Add regulations that protect native growth via easements.

 

Tree & Vegetation Retention

  • Add regulations that require properties with a notice of a critical area on the title be responsible for caring for the property to mitigate potential risks and to avoid infestation of invasive plants.
  • Require retention of 50% of significant trees, at a minimum, on parcels in critical areas, even if the city deems that a Reasonable Use Exception (RUE) isn’t required for that parcel.
  • Require replanting and restoration of any native vegetation that doesn’t survive or is removed during the development process, including RUEs.

Why the Change is Needed:

Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs)

TDRs are currently allowed from erosion areas but are needed more widely particularly in areas dealing with landslides and other geo-hazards.

 

Development Issues

Traffic concerns are not holding back building single-family homes on existing lots. Building is occurring more densely than the zoning allows, especially in existing lots before 1970, and is happening on lots that should not be buildable. Adding a minimum lot size will prevent this and ensure that small, irregular, and fragmented lots are not buildable. West sloping areas have extremely challenging topography with very steep slopes. Clearing and grading of slopes (cuts, excavations, fills) disturbs land and soils, and drainage creating risks of landslides. Often these lots include one or more critical area as well. The health and safety of the community must be protected, and risks of loss of life and/or property must be avoided. Landslides should be formally documented/ tracked through a system available to the public. This way they can make informed decisions and assess risks when buying a home, especially in the steeped sloped Inglewood Hill area.

 

Ecosystem Preservation

Functions and values of ecosystems must be protected before they are gone. Additionally, forests, tree canopies, tree variety, understory, and vegetation are essential to protect. Reasonable Use Exemptions (RUEs) are being made for individual homes that are next to other RUEs are or for properties in the Inglewood Hill neighborhood that have numerous critical area overlays. This piecemeal development is degrading wildlife corridors and pollinator habitat and conflicts with Comprehensive Plan Policy EC.2.6 (Avoid potential impacts to life and property by strictly limiting land disturbance and development in landslide hazard, steep slopes, and Erosion Hazard Near Sensitive Water Body Overlay).

 

Tree & Vegetation Retention

Tree retention requirements vary by geographic area and permit type, with replacement trees not always required. During development, little care is given to plants and tree roots and they get degraded. Developers need to know that the entire property is in their care during development, not just the house and its footprint.



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