Support the East Lake Sammamish Trail

We’re on the brink of completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail…But we need your help!

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is part of the 44 mile regional trail system connecting Seattle to Snoqualmie — but it’s more than a regional connector; it’s a local amenity and a community investment. 

Completing the trail to national standards through the City of Sammamish sections will enable people of all ages and abilities use the trail as a transportation and recreation amenity, whether on foot, by bike, with a stroller or use of wheelchair. 

To end delays to the trail the City of Sammamish needs to hear from trail users and Sammamish residents.  

The current holdup is the Shoreline Substantial Development permit which is issued by the City of Sammamish.  The city issued the permit on July 7, 2015 with 19 conditions.  The City and County came to an agreement on all but 4.  The homeowner’s group, SHO appealed the permit as well as King County. The appeal was heard before the hearing examiner.  On February 8, 2016 he released his decision denying the homeowners appeal. He granted three of the four remaining appeal issues the County had regarding the conditions required by the City and agreed with the City on the 4th condition.   The City appealed this decision first, followed by SHO and finally King County and it was heard in front of the Shoreline Hearings Board this past summer.  On Sept. 14th, the Board ruled that SHO did not meet the burden of proof on their issues.  They sided with the County on 3 out of 4 conditions and struck them.  SHO asked for reconsideration and were denied.  They are now raising funds so they can take it to Superior Court.  The City could decide to do the same and thus the need to let them know you want the permit to be issued in a timely fashion without the disputed conditions.  All these legal issues are just related to the 1.2 miles South Sammamish A section of the trail from the Issaquah border to the 7-11 on East Lake Sammamish Parkway.  Tom Hornish, one of our council members was the former head of SHO before he served on council.  There are various other council members who also support this group.

Please join us on Tuesday. Let council members know why completing the trail matters to you.

Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 pm
Sammamish City Council meeting
Council Chambers, Sammamish City Hall

When you enter council chambers there will be a signup clipboard to give public comment.  Since the trail is not on the agenda, you will be speaking under the Public Comment section of the agenda:

If you can’t make it, please consider sending an email to the following city decision makers:

Lyman Howard, City Manager            lhoward@sammamish.us
Jessi Bon, Deputy City Manager        jbon@sammamish.us
City Council…this goes to all:             citycouncil@sammamish.us

Together we can complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail!

Shoreline Management Board Rules in Favor of ELST South Sammamish Segment A

Click here to read the Board’s rulings in full.  The decision was made on 9/14/16 and all parties have the right to appeal the decision to Superior Court in 30 days.  Per the April, 2016 post on Sammamish Home Owners’ (SHO) web page, their plan was to appeal it to this court where their adverse possession case is.  The county is ready to build if they can get the permit from the City of Sammamish.  If the city or trailside homeowners appeal, construction will be delayed again.  We will post more details when we get them.

Sammamish Trails, Bikeways and Paths Plan (aka Non-Motorized Plan) to be Discussed

Sammamish City Council will be having a study session on the Trails, Bikeways & Paths Plan Update now known as the Non-Motorized Plan, on Tues 7/12 6:30 pm. This is the perfect time to give public comment on your concerns related to trails and their connections in Sammamish. Also a good time to remind the city you would like the East Lake Sammamish Trail completed in a timely fashion with shoulders to accommodate multiple types of users in a safe manner. If you would like to see a shoulder on Snake Hill, this also would be the time to comment. It will be repaired next summer with only a wide shoulder on the top half. This would make a connection to the ELST but if it only has a partial shoulder and none down below, it will continue to be a problem. Finally, Sammamish Friends is advocating for the “Emerald Necklace” around the city. This would involve purchasing land that would provide trail connections between the East Lake Sammamish Trail, Evans Creek Preserve, and Soaring Eagle Park. This is another great trail plan to advocate for.

Please note that Council is scheduled to go into an Executive, closed session for the first 15 min. so the actual start time will be closer to 6:45 PM. http://www.sammamish.us/files/packet/17065.pdf The staff are seeking input from the City Council on the final scope of work (see below) for the Non-Motorized Plan update. This final scope of work will serve as the basis for the consultant contract and project schedule.

Proposed Scope of Work:
• Public outreach and community engagement process.
• Non-motorized safety analysis, including review of existing data, coordination with Sammamish
police, transportation, schools and others.
• Evaluation and planning for safe walking and biking routes to schools.
• Planning for accessible (ADA compliant) non-motorized facilities, including curb ramps,
crossings, signals, bus stops etc.
• Completion of an inventory of existing non-motorized facilities. This work is currently underway.
• Identification of important non-motorized destinations (schools, parks, trails, neighborhoods,
Community Center, Town Center etc.)
• Analysis and inclusion of annexation areas.
• Review and analysis of State, regional and other jurisdiction plans (e.g. King County regional
trails plan, City of Issaquah, City of Redmond etc.) to ensure plan coordination.
• Updated goals and policies.
• Development of new corridors and routes.
• Development of a prioritized capital project list that includes the following:
o Criteria for rating projects
o Project scope
o Planning-level cost estimates

The proposed schedule for updating the plan is quite lengthy with adoption scheduled for Spring, 2018:

Inventory/data preparation Spring-Fall 2016 (in progress)
Scoping Meeting with City Council July 12, 2016
RFQ/consultant selection and contract Fall-Winter 2016
Project Kick-off End of 2016
Public Outreach Begins Spring 2017
Planning/Parks Commissions Ongoing 2017/Early 2018
City Council Ongoing 2017/Early 2018
Plan Adoption Spring 2018

It is important that Council hear that people care about the plan and know early on what issues the residents have.

Trails, Bikeways & Paths Plan & Snake Hill Repairs

Sammamish City Council will be having a study session on the Trails, Bikeways & Paths Plan Update Tues 7/12 6:30 pm. This is the perfect time to give public comment on your concerns related to trails and their connections in Sammamish. Also a good time to remind the city you would like the East Lake Sammamish Trail completed in a timely fashion with shoulders to accommodate multiple types of users in a safe manner. More information will be posted as we get it.

Also, you might ask, what do the Snake Hill (212th Ave. SE) repairs have to do with trails? As those who live in the south end of Sammamish know, for some time now, bikes and pedestrians have been forbidden to use this way off the plateau and down to the East Lake Sammamish Parkway and Trail as it is so narrow and in need of repair. When this writer recently contacted city staff, was told that the Snake Hill repairs have been postponed until Summer, 2017 due to environmental permitting and right-of-way issues that have taken longer than expected. More importantly, discovered that there will be four foot shoulders on the portion being repaired (the upper half). On the lower half they are only restoring existing pavement. I was concerned about having a width so one could walk/bike the road. This means you will have a nice shoulder at the top but only the white line below. Will we be allowed to walk or bike it? How safe is it to only have half done? I was told to feel free to post a comment on the 212th Webpage regarding desire for wider shoulders the whole way. Here is the link so you can do the same:

So far only 3 of us have commented on the project. I was told the City’s Comprehensive Plan does call for improvements to 212th Way which would include sidewalk. However, that project has to compete with the many other improvements listed in the plan. So your input is needed!

The public works staff person kindly forwarded my comments to Susan Cezar in Parks and Recreation related to the upcoming Trails, Bikeways & Paths Plan update. These are 2 ways to make a difference for biking and trails in Sammamish.

East Lake Sammamish Trail Shoreline Hearing Concludes, Awaits Final Ruling

The final day of the Shoreline Hearing related to the permit for the south Sammamish segment of the trail was held June 27th after a site visit to the southern segment. Attorneys have 10 days to make their closing written remarks to the Shorelines Hearings Board which is expected to reach a decision sometime in the fall. See attached article for details. http://www.issaquahreporter.com/news/384547471.html

Once again, the detail that is left out is the fact that the homeowners group, SHO, is also part of the appeal. SHO is no longer represented by Council Person Tom Hornish since he is now on City Council. But he was there on the last day to testify regarding wetlands related to the homeowners’ appeal.

Once this phase is over, there is the right to appeal to King County Superior Court. Per the April, 2016 post on SHO’s web page, their plan was to appeal it to this court where their adverse possession case is.

Stay tuned!

Everyone is appealing

This writer was finally able to find further information on who is appealing the hearing examiner’s decision on the permit needed to begin work on the South Sammamish Segment 2A of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. It appears that the City was first via a closed executive session of City Council on March 1st. Then, the homeowners’ group, SHO, submitted their appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board on March 7th and the County appealed on March 8th. It appears the County is asking that most of the conditions placed on the permit by the City be voided including all the items the City and County had negotiated an agreement on at the hearing examiner level. It seems that we are back to square one.

Here are links to the two latest newspaper articles on the appeal, one from the Issaquah Reporter and the Sammamish Review

Although the Sammamish Review states a hearing has been scheduled in front of the Shoreline Hearings Board on March 30, it appears to be a pre-hearing conference call that will last one hour in front of the Presiding Officer (Judge) and all the parties (and their attorneys) to discuss the case, set the hearing schedule, and determine the issues raised by the appeal.

What does seem odd is that neither paper ever seems to mention the homeowners association and the fact they were denied their appeal by the hearing examiner and are also appealing to the Shoreline Hearings Board. In fact on their web page from December they noted “Regardless of the outcome of the current appeal to the Hearings Examiner, SHO will continue to appeal the SSDP based on these ownership issues. Meanwhile construction cannot begin on South Segment 2A.” More recently they said “So our next step is to appeal the South Segment 2A permit to the next higher authority, in this case, the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB). We anticipate that we will get the same answer from the SHB in that they are not chartered to rule on ownership issues. If that does happen, the next higher authority to appeal to is State Superior Court where our Count 2 issue now resides. This court is capable of ruling on whether the County provided to the city adequate ownership documentation. To our advantage, our current ownership case is in front of Judge Oishi in this same court.” (Per their web page, “Count 2 is focused on a specific set of 66 lots where no deed or easement agreement was ever executed before the railroad laid track. King County is claiming fee title ownership of the corridor across these 66 lots through “adverse possession”. The SHO Complaint says all King County acquired was a prescriptive surface easement based on what the railroad actually used. In Count 2, SHO will argue that the width of this prescriptive easement is the width used by the railroad and the current interim trail width of 12 feet.”)

Obviously, if ruled in their favor, this would eliminate any shoulder on the trail. A trial date of August 2016 has been scheduled for this Count 2 complaint. As far as this writer knows, no date has been set for their Count 1 ownership trial in federal court.