Over the past several months, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to literally thousands of community members and discussing their hopes and concerns for Sammamish. Thanks to all those who have expressed support. For those who are undecided about who to vote for, I wanted to take a moment to clarify my thoughts on the issues that are likely top of mind for us living in Sammamish.
What I’ve heard most often is that people love living in Sammamish and appreciate the safe communities, top schools and scenic beauty. But I’ve also heard their concerns for our rapidly changing environment, unchecked growth, increasing traffic and overcrowded schools. Through my commitment to protecting the quality of life, preserving our environment, and connecting our community, I will work to address each of these issues. Here is where I stand:
I. I’m for thoughtful, reasonable, responsible growth. Sammamish has certainly seen a lot of growth in a short time. We are a young city, having just celebrated our 20th birthday this August. We became a city in part because King County did not invest in needed infrastructure. Given the current economy and high-quality public schools, Sammamish along with the Puget Sound region has become a desirable place to live and work.
Facts: The expanding economy and successes of global corporations in the Puget Sound area has contributed to making Sammamish an attractive city for families. Our city benefits from a wide range federal, state, and county funding, impacting many programs, particularly infrastructure. Growth is inevitable, but we must manage it smartly it in addition to investing in our infrastructure.
The Best Path Forward: Planned, Responsible Growth
It is naive and simplistic to state that stopping growth is the solution – in some cases it would amount to literally taking people’s right to their property. What we need in Sammamish is responsible, planned growth. I currently serve on the Sammamish Planning Commission, and we recently recommended Interim development regulations which protect neighborhood character, preserve trees and the environment. We need stricter enforcement of the regulations, a stronger development code and less leverage in allowing variances.
I am informed and experienced in how to deliver reasonable, responsible growth and will work on your behalf to do just that.
II. I know Traffic is bad and getting worse…we need a Plan that works.
Sammamish needs to not only invest in the road infrastructure of our city, but we also need to work regionally with our neighboring cities to improve traffic.
Facts: Today, more than 21,000 people leave their homes in Sammamish to work outside the city. With limited roads leading out of the city, things like an accident, a malfunctioning light, construction, and the start of a new school year, complicate matters.
The Best Path Forward is to create a Transportation Master Plan
The lack of a Transportation Master Plan has led to our poor infrastructure and traffic congestion.
- It is the key to ensuring Sammamish funds and executes badly needed local infrastructure projects in a timely manner.
- Sidewalk and Road safety also need significant improvement
- Explore expanded service area for Community Transit by Metro King County.
- Pursue a public-private partnership to solve the ‘last mile’ problem.
III. I think the Town Center will be good for Sammamish, if properly controlled.
Facts: Envisioned as the heart of the city, a vibrant, family friendly gathering place to live, work and play, the Town Center Plan was drafted by City Council in 2008. Housing options for seniors, teachers, nurses plus increased transit access is part of the plan. In the past 11 years, 23% (326 units) of the Town Center plan have been built. Building out to full zoning capacity is likely to take decades. I join the majority of the current City Council in supporting Town Center.
The Best Path Forward: Hold Developers Accountable and work with School Districts
A. Hold Developers Accountable
I will fight to ensure the local road access projects listed in the Town Center Plan are funded and implemented. I too am concerned about the traffic impacts and know we must invest in our infrastructure like roads, water and stormwater.
B. Engage with School Districts to support planning for adequate space, resources and teachers for all students
I’ve been an active participant in the PTSA and understand how our local school districts allocate funds and make school capacity decisions. High quality public schools are a major reason why families move to Sammamish, and it is important for us to preserve the quality of education for our children.
- I have requested information on currently enrolled students from all Town Center projects and I am scheduled to meet Dr. Stavem, the Superintendent of LWSD, to understand their questions and concerns regarding schools and future enrollment.
- Explore changes to impact fees for multi-use housing units and ratio for calculating enrollment from the same units.
- Work with the school districts to evaluate school start times in order to better serve our community, including older students, with public transportation.
IV. I believe relationships with surrounding communities will be critical to the future success of Sammamish.
Facts: Sammamish is not an island. Our future prospects are in many ways tied to nearby municipalities and overall King County. I’ve proudly serviced on numerous regional boards and committees and have the network to help influence those in power to help Sammamish thrive.
The Best Path Forward: Sammamish will be a healthier city by strengthening those bonds and working together with our peer cities on issues common to us all. Regional connections and influence will help Sammamish thrive.
V. We can do more to support each other in our community.
Facts: Human Services are critical to Community health. We can do more to support each other and our Community. Even as we address infrastructure and traffic issues, we must work to ensure a livable, supportive City for all. The Human Services ‘Needs Assessment’ recently identified 5 Core Focus Areas for Sammamish (Mental Wellness, Seniors, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Basic Needs and Cultural Inclusion)
The Best Path Forward: Ensure support for Human Services in our Community
Each of these 5 Need areas warrant further support and programming to help ensure Sammamish is an even more vibrant, supportive, inclusive community.
Why am I running?
Because in my heart I believe Sammamish is a very special community that I can help bring to an even better place. As a mom, a parent and involved citizen, I understand your concerns and will proudly represent you and the community if elected. I’m proud to be your neighbor and would be honored to receive your vote.
Priorities and Solutions
Traffic and Transportation
As our region has grown, so has traffic. Increased traffic congestion and safety is one of the biggest concerns in Sammamish. As a city, we need to take a comprehensive view of our transportation system and improve transit options, while focusing on safe streets and connecting neighborhoods.
Help bring innovative transportation service solutions like Community Rides, Mobility Hubs.
Make walking and biking safe by creating a network of safe sidewalks and improved roads
Create channels for Public-Private partnerships to find innovative solutions to commuter traffic issues
Growth and Development
High quality public schools, easy access to parks and green spaces and proximity to jobs have made Sammamish an attractive place to live. However, preserving the environment and protecting our natural resources are of prime importance to our community.
Enforcement of rules already in place to ensure development is effectively monitored
Ensure we are actively planning and that infrastructure is in place to support growth
Conserve high priority and environmentally sensitive areas to ensure they are preserved for the future.
Environment and Sustainability
Communities that are environmentally sound attract new investments and benefit the public health of current and future residents. Sammamish residents are environmentally conscious, and there is a demand for sustainability and emissions reductions in our community.
Addressing climate change is a monumental task. We must ensure we execute and hold ourselves accountable to the standards that have been outlined to reduce greenhouse gas emission, reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment.
Provide homeowners with attractive options for reducing energy consumption.
Promote healthy trails and green spaces to provide recreational opportunities to residents.
Aim to be net neutral in our consumption of energy, use renewable sources of energy to sustain our city buildings.
Our communities are strengthened when they are connected by opportunities to be involved and engaged. It is important to make residents feel welcomed and strengthen communication and feedback so their voices are heard.
Continue to be transparent with decisions and decision making processes.
Increase community awareness in activities that may impact them
Work with City agencies to ensure that citizens are educated by way of Citizen Academy, workshops, panels and roundtables