1. Do you support a plastic bag and styrofoam ban in Sammamish? Why or why not?
I support both a plastic bag and Styrofoam ban in Sammamish. However, I do not support requiring businesses to charge customers for paper bags. Businesses currently account for the cost of bags and this is an unnecessary step and tax on residents. I support these bans as we have reasonable and environmentally friendlier alternatives.
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?
Again, I have ideas – but the job of the council is to ensure we have dedicated professional staff to determine the recommendations, costs, benefits, etc. to present to council and the council should then review the proposals and make the needed policy and budget decisions.
However, there are some ideas that could be reviewed by staff.
For businesses, recycling could be a requirement with penalties for non-compliance. I say this as it is easier to create and enforce such regulations and easier for businesses to create processes to comply.
For residents, I think we need to explore many ideas:
- Education programs on pros of composting and recycling (and reuse which is even better than recycling) as well as the negative effects of not doing so – described on a local level – tell people what it is doing to our lakes, to the Sound, etc.
- Details on what can be recycled and where
- Like what to do with all the packing materials when I get a package
- Details on what can be recycled and where
- Make it a habit – Regularly scheduled (like every 3rd Saturday or something) host recycling events for the things we can’t put in our bins
- This should be a public/private partnership with companies and non-profit organizations that collect old clothes and shoes, devices, appliances, etc.
- Make it regular so people remember
- Possibly find a permanent place for such a collection point with all these groups so people can recycle when they need to
- Make it possible – Work across our cities, the county, and the state to ensure we have a means to recycle all materials – I’ve not found a way/place to recycle Styrofoam, for example.
- Work with our schools to engage students in education and projects to make this a “bottoms up” approach in each home.
3. What is your priority for land acquisition for open space, parks, and/or trail connections for the city of Sammamish? Why?
Staff is currently creating a Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PRO Plan). This will be a comprehensive plan informed by surveys, focus groups, growth projections, and other sources. My plan would be to review the information gathered, presented, and recommended by the PRO plan. In general, I believe it is critical that we, as a city, continue to invest in outdoor spaces. Parks and open spaces will help to maintain our character and offer our residents opportunities to enjoy our amazing natural resources close to home. Trails are essential for connectivity, providing people safe access to these natural resources as well as our commercial resources. These trails can also offer viable alternatives to driving.
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?
We need to explore every idea for reducing traffic. Traffic is not just a nuisance, it keeps us from spending time with our families, making it to events, and it is incredibly harmful to the environment. We need a plan that explores expanding roads for additional lanes or bus turnouts so that buses don’t block traffic when they stop. We need additional bus routes as well as options for solving “the last mile” or how we get residents from their homes to bus stops. We also need to evaluate all connectivity options.
In addition, we need to explore new options. Creating ride sharing platforms and services that residents can utilize on a regular and ad-hoc basis. Working with our high-tech partners in the region to develop and pilot platforms and services in our city to further innovation, serve our residents, and relieve our congestion.
5. How would you increase trail connectivity in and around Sammamish to increase walkability within the city and to and from the Emerald Necklace?
I would ask the Parks and Recreation team to look at how we connect our neighborhoods with trails wherever possible. I hope to see this as part of the PRO plan.
But we need to go farther, we need to look at connecting all of our neighborhoods to each other and to their parks with trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes (when possible). This will help to connect the entire city, safely. We need to give people a viable alternative to their cars. This is a beautiful city and people love to get out and enjoy it.
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.
Having measurable goals and commitments is essential to managing and making progress. In anything we do, school, home finances, and every aspect of running a project or business requires measuring our progress in some form. Throughout my career, I’ve used scorecards, key performance indicators, or other custom measurements to not only assess progress, but to drive it. If you measure it, people will want to move it and hit the end goal.
I would look to the city staff to assess which measurement framework would work best for Sammamish. The STAR Communities rating system looks like a comprehensive and widely used framework and the board of STAR Communities is a great mix of people from government, non-profits, and companies. It should be reviewed by staff for consideration.
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.
Yes, I do support completing the trail.
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?
In theory, of course I would support transforming unattractive ponds to something more aesthetically pleasing. However, I would need to see the costs of doing so and understand the benefits, beyond beautification and adding to city character, of doing so. Our city has many infrastructure projects to complete and we need to prioritize them and work on them in priority order. I am certainly willing to put them on the list to see if they make the cut.
The city must ensure there is a plan to regularly inspect and perform routine maintenance on storm water ponds. It is important to remove any noxious, invasive, or non-native species out of the ponds. The ponds must also be stable (not eroding) and excess sediment should be regularly removed. The pipes, leading into or out of the pond, must be cleaned of debris and sentiment regularly.
9. Do you support the creation of aesthetic design standards for new developments in Sammamish? Why or why not?
I do support aesthetic design standards. While ensuring new development is safe and durable for homeowners and is built in a way that supports and protects the environment with proper storm water management, materials utilized, etc., homeowners want options that they can be proud of now and for years to come. I believe that many standards serve multiple purposes and we should look for those (where we can say, protect the tree canopy and ensure design is accounted for), we can ensure that our new development supports current density goals, serves the housing needs of our current and future residents, and continues to add to and not detract from our cities character. However, we need to ensure we are not imposing unreasonable and costly criteria on builders that will ultimately harm homeowners or restrict people’s individual tastes and preferences. So, as with most things, it would have to be light handed and within reason.
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 think we should hold on any action on this property at this point in time. A Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PRO) Plan is being developed and is informed by significant community input. I want to see how this fits into the priorities set forth by the community. Once the PRO Plan draft is complete, we need to what is in the best interest of the community, how this aligns with other priorities, and any budgeting concerns that may arise.
11. What 3 actions should the city take to increase its tree canopy cover?
- Education of our citizens and our partners, like developers and commercial partners
- Trees can increase property values up to 23% – good economics
- Trees can reduce cooling costs – more good economics
- All of the environmental benefits – cost effective storm water management, water filtration, reduction in erosion, absorption of carbon dioxide, etc.
- Review our tree retention policy to determine how we can retain more mature growth trees, clusters of trees, and any other potential improvements to that policy when development does occur
- Adopt Urban Tree Canopy Goals and measure progress – While setting goals alone will not solve the problem, we need to determine an end state and a direction. With goals and measurements, it will make it easier to partner with other organizations (from HOAs, to non-profits, to private citizens, companies in and around Sammamish, government agencies at the county, state, and federal level, etc.) to gain assistance.
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
My goal for Sammamish’s Urban Forest is that we, with the help of trained professionals, determine the appropriate coverage percentage, a plan for how we hit that percentage, and interim milestones to achieve that goal with a detailed plan for how we get there. The council should then require periodic updates on the plan with information on how to course correct, if needed and any corresponding asks from the council.
As an engineer, I hesitate to define the specifics, for a-d above, without the necessary data from a study (currently being kicked off by staff – bids were due on 7/12) and recommendations from staff based on the study. What I am supportive of is ensuring we have a proper UTC as the benefits are far reaching and the value indisputable. So, I would be supportive of applying the necessary resources to achieve a beneficial UTC.
13. Would you support having a dedicated Sustainability staff member in Sammamish? (Issaquah currently has 5 staff in its Office of Sustainability.)
I would support having a dedicated Sustainability staff member to ensure that Sammamish is taking advantage of all possible benefits that sustainability can offer. I believe that we can find savings through Sustainability that would allow this resource to pay for itself and more. And while finances are important, clearly, there are many other benefits that the city and all of us can take advantage of by focusing on Sustainability.
14. What other efforts would you actively pursue to further sustainability in Sammamish?
I would like to pursue sourcing energy used by from renewable sources, adding level 3 charging stations around the city, increasing alternate fuel vehicles for city use, partnering with tech companies to pilot new transportation platforms and services, and more…we are an educated and tech savvy community and we should strive to be on the cutting edge of new technologies to move our city forward – these environmentally friendly ideas are also long-term economic savings…these could be some of the best investments we make in our city and for our residents.
|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|