The Sammamish City Council last night unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that will halt most new development until city leaders have implemented a revised traffic model.
“We can’t stop growth, but we can manage it,” said City Manager Lyman Howard. “We’re in an intense cycle of strategic planning at the same time all this growth is happening. The building moratorium is like a time out or a pause. It’s a temporary reprieve while we complete the planning necessary to guide development in alignment with our comprehensive plan.”
Council members specifically want to complete their work developing a revised traffic concurrency policy and traffic modeling program. They voted in July to make alleviating traffic congestion their number-one priority, and the emergency ordinance provides them time to do in-depth analysis of current conditions. City leaders are working with a consultant to explore alternative concurrency models. They expect to select a preferred approach and begin looking at implications by January 2018.
Because this is an emergency ordinance, the Council must hold a public hearing on the moratorium within 60 days and review and renew the action if it lasts beyond six months.
The moratorium does not mean all development will stop. Projects can proceed if they are already under construction or have development applications filed with the city. With approximately two years’ worth of such projects in the pipeline, it will likely take some time before citizens notice the effect of the moratorium.
In addition, the moratorium excludes affordable-housing projects and publicly funded facilities like schools.
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