Mark Baughman (Position 1)


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


I support a Styrofoam ban and would encourage, along with a ban, some additional public education about how to properly dispose of or recycle Styrofoam that comes with items purchased outside of Sammamish.

I would conditionally support a plastic bag ban if there is business and citizen support in the community. Attempts to impose this ban on a community that is opposed will not result in achieving the goals of the ban effort.

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? 


The controversial decision to make yard waste collection a required part of the minimum services provided under the new garbage collection contract provides a great avenue to divert food, yard waste & compostables out of the landfill bound waste stream. In the past there have been efforts to provide low cost compost bins for residents to use in their yard. The City should pursue something similar to provide containers and education for people to collect compostables in their kitchen to support use of the now required yard waste bins. Another key component is education of new City residents about the requirements and expectations for recycling and composting/yard waste. New residents frequently don’t understand what services are available, what requirements are, or how to properly utilize the recyclables and compostable collections. Most people want to do the right thing, but often don’t take the time to understand how to do it correctly.

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


As Sammamish becomes more urban in character, the need for parks is crucial. The City has been studying the selective purchase of land for parks and must now find a way to prioritize this alongside the significant need to increase funding for transportation and infrastructure projects. The balance between these priorities will be difficult, but the cost for land acquisition is unlikely to go down in the future, so purchases now should be a priority even if the funds for City development of the property will not be available until later years.

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?


The City’s transportation infrastructure is not well suited to buses so bus utilization does not provide any time savings and thus there is little incentive to choose this option. There are several ways to provide prioritization for busses that could make use of public transit more time efficient and thus much more desirable. Working with Metro to improve access to and features at some of the City’s bus stop locations would also make use of public transit much more desirable. Examples could include covered stops, better signage, crosswalk access, lighting, and safety improvements.

The City’s transportation infrastructure continues to evolve from a rural system to an urban system and this will help to mitigate worsening of traffic conditions resulting from increased population and development within the City. Sammamish must focus on road projects, but should also put heavy emphasis on smaller opportunities to significantly improve traffic flow such as intersection improvements, traffic signal timing, adjusted speed limits, and connectivity, which means that, yes, road barricades on streets that are intended to be through streets must be removed. This can be difficult for the affected neighborhoods, and the City should help with traffic mitigation strategies and enhanced neighborhood traffic enforcement.

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


With current work in progress on purchasing land for use as parks and/or green space there is a significant opportunity to also consider purchases and easements for connective trail development. This exercise has included extensive mapping of green spaces. The City should also create a more thorough internal map of all trails, even those that are private or do not currently connect, so that future development can be well planned and higher value pathways can be targeted for implementation.

Additionally, residential development above some predetermined size should be required to provide some type of trail component even if only for future connectivity as further development or trail growth occurs.

As traffic loads on city streets grow, safer pedestrian access is inevitably needed. This will (and should) require enhanced crosswalks, better signage for pedestrians, and a greater emphasis on new development requirements for pedestrian connectivity.

6. Would you support Sammamish using the STAR Community Rating  system ( 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.  


It would be valuable to study and discuss the STAR system among the City council and, especially, City staff to determine how it would work for Sammamish. The STAR program has an emphasis on environmental and sustainability issues, but also measures a number of other factors within a community. Support and commitment by City staff and leadership would be critical to successfully utilize the Star program and to pursue certification. There would be some costs involved. With proper staff and budgetary commitments, I would support using the STAR Community Rating system.

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.


I support completion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. Many citizens of Sammamish have watched in frustration as the amount of City time and resources devoted to arguing with King County over the East Lake Sammamish Trail mounts. While the issues of dispute are real, the reality is clear that the trail is being built and will be completed. The incessant bickering via the costliest approach (the court system) does little to effectively and cost efficiently represent the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Sammamish. I absolutely support a City government that advocates for and protects its citizens when appropriate, but this acrimonious debate has gone on for too long. It’s time for new people on both sides of the table to try once again to sit down face-to-face and, recognizing the reality that this trail will get built, work thought the real issues around safety, trail access, and impact to neighbors. There are no good solutions that will come through the legal system. It’s not possible for everyone to get exactly what they want, but better outcomes are certain if Sammamish and King County leaders work together to sincerely develop reasonable solutions that consider the interests of everyone involved and the goal of getting this project completed.    

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?


There are numerous budget priorities for urgent issues that need to be addressed by the City. If transformation of existing storm water detention facilities can be fit within the budget framework of planned infrastructure projects and City facilities maintenance planning, then I agree that this is a great idea for improving the community aesthetic in Sammamish.

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


Yes, I support the idea of setting some very basic aesthetic design standards for Sammamish. Caution is required whenever a City attempts to establish these types of guidelines, but some reasonable standards could be tied into several of the current citizen concerns for development within Sammamish including tree canopy retention, new housing diversity, and parks & open space within the City.

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?


It is understandable that neighbors would prefer to maintain this property in its natural state and thereby create a ‘passive use’ park space. However, the City’s obligation is to create active use park space and as the City continues to grow, this type of active use park is urgently needed. The design for the final park at this location should include features that protect sensitive areas where possible, maintain some real portion of the tree canopy, and provide a buffer for neighbors. Pursuing this course of action also allows the City to dedicate funds to purchase of additional property while still developing this location as valuable park amenity close to the heart of the City.

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


First, enforce, in both letter and spirit, the updated tree retention ordinance and follow up with further adjustments if needed.

Second, encourage both public and private tree planting programs to support the community aesthetic both now and in the future. Give away saplings at the Farmer’s Market. Identify areas in need of tree canopy renewal and engage the property owner. Provide greater education in the City newsletter and on the City website to encourage tree preservation and new tree planting.

Third, set the right example by making both preservation and new planting top priorities on all City owned land and City funded projects.

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


My goal for the City’s urban forest is to maintain the character and diversity of our tree canopy through retention of trees during the growth and development of the city, maintenance of existing trees for health disease resistance and continuous planting of a diverse spectrum of new trees to support a future healthy community aesthetic that continues the tradition of a beautiful forest canopy in Sammamish.

a) Linking that goal to stormwater retention

If there is an objective measurement method that could link urban forest canopy health to erosion control and storm water retention, then I would support this link. Municipal requirements and ordinances work best when they can be clearly and objectively measured.

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

I would support the idea of a volunteer panel with specific objectives and authority well defined in advance.

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

I would support utilization of on-call third party consultant arborists for this purpose. For numerous reasons, I am cautious about the financial and human resource implications of increasing City staff unless there are no other alternatives.

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

If enforceable and durable in the face of legal challenge, I would support this idea.

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


I think it may be possible to allocate this responsibility to existing City staff. I would also support utilization of a third-party consultant for this purpose at least on a trial basis. For numerous reasons, I am cautious about the financial and human resource implications of increasing City staff unless there are no other alternatives.

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


The City can and should put a greater emphasis on renewable energy and reducing City-driven carbon footprint. Simple steps might include:

  • Buying green power from PSE,
  • Installing PV on the roofs of City facilities,
  • Putting greater emphasis on CNG and electric vehicles for the City’s fleet resources,
  • Revisiting the garbage collection contract with Republic Services to see if alternatives are available to reduce carbon emissions under this contract
  • Continued study of intelligent traffic signals to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling
  • Energy studies of lighting and mechanical equipment in City owned buildings to look for building updates that could reduce energy consumption and ongoing operating costs
  • Install more electric vehicle recharging stations at public faculties in anticipation of more electric vehicles in the future.

The City should consider using pervious paving on public projects and requiring pervious paving on private developments. In both cases where appropriate for the intended use of the paving.

All future City facilities should be required to achieve LEED Silver or better as a base requirement in all contracts.

Some storm water features have been built into several road projects where runoff is treated, absorbed, and retained in bio swales of various configurations. This should become a standard requirement for all street and sidewalk projects including re-constructions. Not including these features should be the exception where not possible rather than the project basis.

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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