Jason Ritchie (Position 1)

1) Do you support a plastic bag and styrofoam ban in Sammamish? Why or why not?


I do support the plastic bag and Styrofoam ban in Sammamish. It has shown to be an effective tool in protecting these damaging materials from entering our fragile environment. Part of living in Sammamish is assuming the responsibility for protecting our environment, our rivers, lakes, trees and wildlife. Styrofoam and plastic do not biodegrade and are harmful to our environment. Anything we can do as a City to prevent this from continuing is a goal we must meet.

2) How would you encourage local businesses and Sammamish residents to
compost and recycle? What incentives, education, and/or regulations would you
enact to increase participation in these programs throughout the city?


I believe Sammamish, the city government and our citizens, have a strong commitment to recycling already but we must do more. Communication and outreach is key. I’d support growing our communication efforts and continuing education as to the benefits of recycling and composting. Frankly, composting and recycling are not that difficult and the benefits are overwhelmingly positive to our air, water and wildlife. The less we can leave behind in waste, the better. Sammamish City Government must continue to lead the way in our region and to encourage our citizenry to meet goals that are attainable and rewarded with recognition.

3) What is your priority for land acquisition for open space, parks, and/or trail connections for the city of Sammamish? Why?


I strongly support the Emerald Necklace, the trail that will eventually encompass Sammamish. My family and I are frequent visitors to our parks and open spaces. Whether on bikes, walking or just finding a quiet place to sit and listen, the parks and open spaces of Sammamish must be protected. I favor more open spaces and parks over more houses and development. Where the City Council can purchase more land for open spaces, trails and parks, I will be supportive.

4) What is your plan for reducing car traffic in Sammamish? Would that include increasing public transit and/or removing road barricades to increase


The challenge of traffic in and around Sammamish isn’t going away. We are a welcoming and growing City that people want to live in. Getting on and off the Plateau is a constant concern for everyone that lives in Sammamish and is clearly issue number one in this election. While I know that significant investments are being made into local infrastructure, we need to do more. I’d support more regional solutions with transit options, including more bus routes off the Plateau as well as within the Plateau. I’d also support more east/west arterials that will help ease traffic.

5) How would you increase trail connectivity in and around Sammamish to increase walkability within the city and to and from the Emerald Necklace?


As mentioned above, I strongly support the Emerald Necklace but this is only part of the investments we need to make in making Sammamish a more walkable city. I see children walking and biking to and from school dangerously close to cars and trucks. We need to invest into more sidewalks, more trails and more connections to the trails and sidewalks we have in place. Additionally, clearly marked signs and distance markers would aid users in knowing where they are going and how far their destination is.

6) Would you support Sammamish using the STAR Community Rating system (starcommunities.org) as a sustainability framework and certification program? Nearby, Seattle is a 5-STAR Certified Community (the second city in the country to do so!), Tacoma is a 4-STAR Certified Community, and King County is a 4-STAR Certified Community.


I’d absolutely support Sammamish working towards a STAR Community rating. We can encourage more solar use, more sustainable building and more preservation of our natural resources. Sammamish must and should lead the way on the Eastside to attain this important designation. This is a real and tangible way we can demonstrate our commitment to preservation and sustainability.

7) Do you support completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail to King County regional trail standards? As currently designed by King County Parks, the trail
meets King County and AASHTO national standards for a trail of its type and expected volume of use, including design as a 12-foot-wide trail.


This is a sensitive issue for the citizens who live along the trail that has become embroiled in litigation. I think the City of Sammamish can be a leader in making the East Lake Sammamish Trail a benefit for everyone in our region while recognizing the impact the expansion is having on the residents along the trail. My goal would be to pause, step back from litigation and see where we can find a compromise. I support the completion of the trail but want to make sure we are being sensitive to the residents who are being directly impacted.

8) Would you support the city transforming our unattractive stormwater ponds to promote a natural aesthetic? How would you propose that the city ensure they are properly maintained in form and function?


Yes, we can and must do better. Our storm water retention facilities are not pleasing to the eye; they stand out rather than blend in. We can utilize the existing spaces in a way that serves the purpose of storm water retention but is also more reflective of the natural beauty of our City. This would include leaving more heritage trees in place and making sure we are protecting the surrounding environment.

9) Do you support the creation of aesthetic design standards for new developments in Sammamish? Why or why not?


In short, yes. I do not support an homogenized version of Sammamish. I do support a variety of building types and designs but I would support environmentally conscious plan that encourage minimal land impact and are built with sustainable products.

10)The agreement between the city and the Y includes transferring the Y property next to Pine Lake Middle School to the city at no cost if it is used for active recreation. Some would like to see it developed for more passive use to maintain tree canopy and wildlife habitat. This passive use of the property may require the city to purchase it outright. How would you handle this issue?


I’d support any plan that keeps the property adjacent to Pine Lake Middle School as a passive use area and retains the tree canopy and wildlife. While I know that budgets are tight and commitments have been made, I’d support revisiting this issue to make sure we are not acting in haste. If we can negotiate a better deal that preserves more natural beauty and passive land use, I’d support it.

11)What 3 actions should the city take to increase its tree canopy cover?


First, I’d support protecting heritage and old growth trees. Second, I’d support making sure new and current developments are not clear cutting trees to fit an overwhelming amount of housing in an area that will damage the environment and overburden our infrastructure. Third, I’d support zoning changes that will promote the tree canopy in neighborhoods and along sidewalks and streets.

12)What is your goal for Sammamish’s Urban Forest? Additionally, would you support the following proposals? Why or why not?

a. Linking that goal to stormwater retention

b. Creating an Urban Forest Panel or Board to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Urban Forest Management Plan

c. Hiring one or more arborists to city staff to assist in assessment of trees on land to be developed as well as to support policies in the Urban Forest Management Plan

d. Creating a requirement that retained trees are clustered together rather than scattered or left in a thin line at the property boundary? This “Tree Save” idea has been used in other cities, with the provision that only passive recreation can be conducted within the retained cluster


I strongly support protecting our tree canopy and our heritage trees from clear cutting developers. My goal is to leave a Sammamish that is more green than we find it today. This includes making our storm water retention areas more a part of the surrounding environment, not simply a fenced off pond. I’d support the creation of an urban forestry panel or board that would monitor our efforts to keep Sammamish green and treed. I strongly support the idea of hiring an Arborist, as several of our neighboring cities have done, to make sure our trees are healthy and that we are honoring our commitment to protecting the environment with each step we take as a City. This commitment includes clustering trees, including old growth trees and not scattering trees around a parcel or area. Clusters of trees have much more benefit to the environment and wildlife.

13)Would you support having a dedicated Sustainability staff member in Sammamish? (Issaquah currently has 5 staff in its Office of Sustainability.)


I would absolutely support having a dedicated sustainability staff member for the City of Sammamish that would reinforce and continue our commitment to the environment in a real and tangible way.

14)What other efforts would you actively pursue to further sustainability in Sammamish?


I’m running for the Sammamish City Council because I want to be a part of making a City that codifies and implements a real commitment to environmental preservation. By making investments into our lakes, streams, open spaces, forests and wild habitats; by preserving our natural lands and limiting development, we are providing our children and their children a heritage that will sustain our City for generations to come.

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Position 1 Mark Baughman Jason Ritchie
Position 3 Minal Ghassemieh Karen Howe Karen Moran
Position 5 Ryika Hooshangi Rituja Indapure Chris Ross
Position 7 Melanie Curtright John Robinson Pam Stuart