Karen Moran (Position 3)

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

whitecell

I would support a ban on Styrofoam and any plastic bags that are not 100% recyclable. From my nursing background, I hold reservations regarding a total ban of plastic bags. Microbiologists have found E. coli, salmonella, fecal coliform, and other harmful bacteria in reusable bags not washed and sterilized after each use. When dirty reusable bags are left in a warm car, bacteria multiplies10 times faster.

I recently spoke with representatives at both QFC and Safeway in Sammamish.  Both use 100% recyclable bags, and both provide bins on site for collection of bags for recycling. Both stores indicated that the bag recycling is very popular with customers.

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?

whitecell

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic materials continue to be the largest source of municipal solid waste—more than plastic, paper, metal or glass.  I would like to see Sammamish offer Curb Side Compost pickup, separate from yard waste bins, with its public services.  Many cities offer this service, including Portland, San Francisco, New York and Seattle.  The city can also provide public education, through the use of brochures, contact with citizens at events like the farmers market, etcetera, to provide information and assistance.  The city could also offer a discount for getting a compost bin and trading in for smaller trash can.   

Some cities have actually created fines for over 10% food waste.  We need to just start the process of education and importance and see where we go from there.

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

lgreencell

I agree with the overwhelming sentiment I hear from our citizens, that open space, parks and trail connections are a high priority.  The City and Parks Board have been working hard to provide trail connections, not only in the city, but also in the “emerald necklace” around the outside of the city. I believe we need to acquire this land now before it is gone forever to development.

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

lgreencell

Like it or not, the traffic is a result of growth that we are not likely to change. Where we have failed is in accommodating the traffic. Within the City, we need to improve our grid to alleviate pinch points. Outside the City, we need to partner with the County, State and neighboring cities to address our regional commute issues. Sammamish is currently working with metro to identify areas where we can provide better service within the city, in city shuttle service and school activity busing.  We can also work with the large regional employers such as Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and Costco, to create more ride sharing opportunities.

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

whitecell

The city is currently working with Town Center developments to identify trail options, but we need to continue to encourage creative additions to our trails and open spaces, in new plats, and in cooperation with schools, utility corridors and neighboring jurisdictions

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.  

dgreencell

Yes, communities use the STAR system to strengthen local planning efforts. By integrating sustainability into a comprehensive plan, Sammamish could move from discussing sustainability to defining concrete practices, implementing solutions, and measuring impact.

STAR Community Rating System provides a, data-driven framework that allows Sammamish to first define sustainability for ourselves then evaluate and improve economic, environmental, and social performance.

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.

whitecell

The Trail has been a volatile issue since its inception, as it requires the need to balance property rights, drainage, tree retention and public safety. While the County is implementing the project for the benefit of residents county-wide, it is Sammamish that lives with the result. The City needs to remain diligent in dealing with the County, to ensure that the best interest of the City and its residents is paramount.  This trail needs to be opened.  The county is being a bully.  We need to bring them back to the table and do what is right for citizens.  

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?

lgreencell

Certainly. Many of the existing facilities are very unattractive.  This would be a relatively easy and affordable improvement, and has been a topic of discussion since I was on the Planning Commission.  According to the 2016 Storm water Management Comprehensive Plan, the city will now be taking over the care of these areas through the City’s Community Development Department.  Since this Comprehensive plan is relatively new, this should be reviewed in a year or two to evaluate results.

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

lgreencell

This, again, is something that was talked about while I was on the Planning Commission

Aesthetics are a subjective thing, and we each have our own idea about what looks good. That said, the general opinion that I have heard from citizens is that much of the new development in the City is unsightly. I would support the investigation of standards to prevent this in the future.  Clearly this is something that would require a lot of public input, as well as input from builders and planners.  

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?

lgreencell

This topic is being considered by the “Pro Plan” from the Sammamish Parks Board.  I have heard different ideas from many residents, including simply preserve the park in as natural a state as possible, and designing a park similar to Mercer Island’s ‘Adventure Park”.   I will support what comes out of the citizen review process. We can certainly have an active use park without destroying the natural beauty.

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

lgreencell

We have been lucky in Sammamish to have maintained a healthy tree population in most parts of the City for many years. However, in recent years the City has allowed less responsible development to threaten that situation.Beginning in the summer of 2017, the City of Sammamish will be starting the process of writing our first Urban Forest Management Plan. This community-wide planning process, which will be jointly led by a consultant and City staff, will set the City’s priorities for the management, protection, and promotion of the urban forest

Three things they will need to consider for increased canopy are

  1. Maintaining  our healthy trees
  2. Responsible removal of unhealthy trees
  3. Replanting of native trees where appropriate

None of this can be done until an inventory has been completed of the trees we have. From there the city can put together a plan to maintain or increase tree canopy as it desires.  San Diego and other cities have been working on their cities tree canopies.  It is always good to find out what works and what does not.

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

lgreencell

My first goal is to complete a tree inventory, so we have a solid understanding of our current situation and a baseline for future comparisons.  With that in hand, we can begin to evaluate where protections need to be increased and where replacement or augmentation may be desirable.

a) Healthy trees are essential to our ecosystem.

b) I would support the creation of an Urban Forest Board that would advise the City on these topics.

c) While we need to protect our trees, we also must keep in mind the needs of our individual citizens. Preventing developers from clear cutting large tracts of land is a different situation than requiring a single-family homeowner to bear unreasonable expenses to remove unhealthy or dangerous trees

d) Tree clustering is what was done in this area years ago.  It is a technique that was employed in many of the early plats in Sammamish, such as Tree Farm, Timberline, Sahalee, and Heritage hills.  This is a technique that has proven to work well, both in maintaining healthy trees and minimizing damage to property.

 

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

whitecell

We have been lucky in Sammamish to have maintained a healthy tree population in most parts of the City for many years. However, in recent years the City has allowed less responsible development to threaten that situation. Beginning in the summer of 2017, the City of Sammamish will be starting the process of writing our first Urban Forest Management Plan. This community-wide planning process, which will be jointly led by a consultant and City staff, will set the City’s priorities for the management, protection, and promotion of the urban forest

Three things they will need to consider for increased canopy are

  1. Maintaining  our healthy trees
  2. Responsible removal of unhealthy trees
  3. Replanting of native trees where appropriate

None of this can be done until an inventory has been completed of the trees we have.  From there the city can put together a plan to maintain or increase tree canopy as it desires.  San Diego and other cities have been working on their cities tree canopies.  It is always good to find out what works and what does not.
14. What other efforts would you actively pursue to further sustainability in Sammamish?

whitecell

Again, I believe that we need to manage our natural resources in a coordinated fashion, as they are interconnected. In many ways, the threats to our tree populations and our natural waters are the same, and the solution involves responsible management of the entire system. Healthy trees and good surface water management practices result in healthy lakes and streams. The other most obvious were covered earlier.


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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