Moratorium on New Development

September 2018 update:  During their Regular Business Meeting on Tuesday, September 18, the City Council voted to renew the current building moratorium an additional six months, adding several key exceptions (O2018-467). Development projects added as exceptions on September 18, 2018 that are no longer subject to the moratorium include all short plats, long plats, any Town Center area projects where there is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in place, and all currently docketed items for which rezoning is required. The Council’s action preserves the moratorium for larger development projects in the Town Center area not subject to the above exceptions, allowing City Council additional time to address transportation concurrency and traffic impacts related to development and growth.

March 2018 Update: During their Regular Business Meeting on Tuesday, March 6, the City Council voted to renew the current building moratorium an additional six months to allow the Council additional time to consider possible amendments to its Comprehensive Plan and regulations to address transportation concurrency and traffic impacts related to development and growth.

In addition to renewing the moratorium, the City Council also made progress on addressing transportation concurrency during their meeting by approving a preferred approach to developing a transportation concurrency policy and Level of Service (LOS). The preferred approach (Table 1 above) is described as the intersection-wide, volume weighted average delay with an LOS of D, with allowance for LOS E where LOS D cannot be achieved per the 2015 Comprehensive Plan. Under this direction, City staff will draft a new concurrency methodology and prepare draft amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and associated regulations.

January 2018 UpdateOn December 5, 2017, the Sammamish City Council approved an amended emergency ordinance, O2017-445B, that will halt most new development until City leaders have implemented a revised traffic model. This ordinance followed the original version adopted on October 3, 2017 (O2017-445), and an amended version adopted on November 21, 2017 (O2017-445A).

“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.”

Councilmembers specifically cited a desire to complete their work developing a revised traffic concurrency policy and traffic modeling program when deciding to amend the moratorium. The Council 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 began reviewing concurrency options in August 2017, and expect to agree on a preferred approach by March 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 Council held a public hearing on the emergency ordinance on November 21, 2017.

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 impact of the moratorium.

In addition, the moratorium excludes affordable-housing projects and publicly funded facilities like schools.

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