Rituja Indapure (Position 5)

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


Single-use plastic bags choke, suffocate or kill thousands of whales, birds and other marine wildlife each year. They are one of the major causes of shoreline pollution. Plastic pollution poses a threat to whales, seals, turtles, salmon and all of Puget Sound’s wildlife.  Limiting wasteful single-use bags can reduce plastic litter in our beautiful city and will encourage consumers to purchase more sustainable and reusable bags. Local grocery stores in Sammamish as well as Chamber of Commerce have already spoken in favor of eliminating single use plastic bags in Sammamish and I support this as well.

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? 


Residents of Sammamish care a lot of recycling and composting. However 60% of what people throw away can be recycled or composted. Often we don’t know what materials can be recycled  or not. Local educational classes on composting, usage of rain barrels and recycling can go a long way in increasing awareness among residents. Additionally, incentives for recycling and composting can be made available for residents, businesses, new constructions, remodels and haulers. The majority of the community seems to appreciate the new garbage contract which offers weekly recycling. Businesses in Sammamish also have an option to recycle and have a separate bin for food waste, which helps all. We can also use resources and training from other cities and regional partners to compost and recycle more.

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


Local parks, trails and sports fields are integral to the community in Sammamish. They bring together families, provide recreation and create a sense of community. I support acquisition of land, development of parks and recreation land, facilities, and open space areas to meet the needs of the Sammamish community.

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?


Increased traffic and a lack of transportation solutions are an issue for Sammamish. Currently, our city is working with regional transit authorities to ensure that we have more access to transit. In my discussions with other elected officials, I have proposed looking into a variety of options like working on a public-private partnership to increase transit options for all residents of Sammamish. It would be a priority for me to advocate for a city bus that goes in a loop and connects the various neighborhoods in Sammamish which would potentially reduce intra-city traffic. Ensuring that we have safe streets which bikers and pedestrians can use is also essential to reducing traffic. There are multiple barricades and stub streets in Sammamish that can potentially limit connectivity between the city. Each barricade presents unique considerations and multiple criteria like existing road conditions, impact to environment, safety, traffic volumes, topography need to be taken into account before making any decisions on the barricades. I would also be interested in learning from previous guidelines and processes regarding barricades in the city.

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


We in the Pacific Northwest are fortunate to be surrounded by local, county and state maintained trails. The Emerald Necklace envisions a network of trails which will go all around the city of Sammamish. The network currently includes East Lake Sammamish, Issaquah to Preston, Grand Ridge, Duthie Hill and  Soaring Eagle trails. The north east part of the city remains to be connected back to the East Lake Sammamish trail to complete the loop. Education, identifying and labeling the existing trails will help socialize the existence of the trails and  increase its usage by Sammamish residents. We will need to continue to work with regional partners, non-profits and community organizations to realise the goal of connecting trails for the Emerald Necklace.

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.  


The STAR Community Rating System (STAR) is a comprehensive framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, which includes economic, environmental, and social performance measures.  It can be used to evaluate the current level of sustainability, set targets for moving ahead, act as a benchmark and a dashboard to measure progress. Objectives listed in the STAR Community Rating system measures local actions that can lead to community outcomes. Given that a STAR framework can help cities address local priorities by providing direct feedback on outcomes of local implementation, it would benefit Sammamish to adopt the STAR Community Rating system. However with many plans (Parks, Urban Forest, Transportation etc.) in the works right now, we must ensure that effort is not duplicated as far as sustainability goals for the city are concerned. Also, I would like to learn more about funding needed to adopt the STAR Community Rating system for Sammamish as well as the ongoing effort needed to maintain or upgrade the rating.

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.


The roughly 11-mile East lake Sammamish trail follows a historic railroad route and goes through the cities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah. The goal of this trail is to connect to the Burke-Gilman trail, the Sammamish River trail, Marymoor Connector Trail and the Issaquah-Preston Trail.  The trail goes along the lake and also lakeside communities, which has posed issues with especially section 2B of the trail.  In addition to the challenges of the residents, there are issues with culverts and stormwater drainage that have been raised. With additional information requested from King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, upon the staff recommendation, the matter will ultimately rest with the City’s hearing examiner regarding the Shoreline Substantial Development Permit. Residents in Sammamish, including those living on the shoreline, welcome the trail and see the public benefit to all its residents. However, it is imperative that we mitigate the issues faced by residents regarding property while ensuring that public lands are not encroached upon.  

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?


Stormwater ponds are manmade constructions near businesses or residences constructed to contain and/or filter pollutants that flush off. They are designed to mimic the ecological function of naturally occurring ponds and wetlands. In order for the stormwater ponds to provide its full ecological value, it is essential to promote healthy landscaping that includes diverse plant community which provides both habitat and aesthetic appeal. I support transforming stormwater ponds to promote a natural aesthetic. Funding for such programs can be a challenge, but the City can work with community volunteers and other local organizations to improve aesthetics of stormwater ponds.

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


Today, Sammamish is a collection of unique and diverse neighborhoods. Sammamish is a young city which has experienced growth in the past years. One of the challenges that the city and residents are facing is with the aesthetics of the new construction. I would support the creation of design standards for site and building design which would enhance the character and livability of the neighborhoods, increase pedestrian movement, protect the natural environment and preserve environmentally sensitive areas. The intent of this design standard would be to ensure that new public and private constructions and improvements enhance and maintain the visual character of the community.  The overall goal of this design standard would be to create a city that is people-oriented, diverse, and aesthetically appealing.

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?


The Sammamish Community and Aquatic center was opened to the residents of Sammamish in 2016 and since then has been a hub of activity and community. It provides activities for the young and also for our seniors. Studies conducted on the heavily forested YMCA 7.25 acre property has shown that the parcel of land includes two wetlands, streams that are connected to Laughing Jacobs sub basin. The woods also support local wildlife. Currently vast majority of residents are against clear cutting the trees to build a pavilion or an indoor structure for active use.  I would like the city to look at the results of the PRO survey, get input from the residents specific to the area surrounding Pine Lake and overall city survey to prioritize and evaluate how the land can be developed for public good.

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


The urban tree canopy in Sammamish is a vital asset that contributes to the quality of life of Sammamish residents. The city will soon have an Urban Forest Management Plan, and it will be important to see what recommendations it has to increase tree canopy cover in Sammamish. In addition to the requirements listed in the request for proposal for the Urban Forest Management Plan like public education, outreach and working group. Some of the actions that I would like the City to take are:

Develop policies and guidelines for species diversity

Tree Planting and support program for Commercial, Institutional  and Private landowners

Improve tree maintenance

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


The primary goal for the Urban Forest plan should be to increase the city’s tree canopy. Since tree retention supports surface and stormwater functions, these should be part of the Urban Forestry plan. The Urban Forest plan should identify the characteristics and complexity of the existing tree canopy, has plans to optimize species and age diversity. Tree resource Management tools should be developed and implemented along with modeling good stewardship practices for individuals, commercial and institutional organizations. It would also be important to get the community involved in understanding the urban forest as a community resource and promote partnerships with community, non-profit groups and the city regarding tree planting, care and outreach. Another goal of the Urban Forest Plan should also be to encourage tree preservation and planting on private property through strengthening regulations and incentives.

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


Yes, I would support having a dedicated Sustainability staff member in Sammamish City.

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


In 2009, the City Council defined the vision for a sustainable Sammamish. After a year long effort a Sustainability Strategy plan was drafted by the city which had input from the citizens as well as staff. The top five sustainability goals were to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; Create and Protect Natural Habitats; Conserve Energy; Conserve water and foster Healthy Neighborhoods. This plan is a good tool to get started on increasing sustainability in Sammamish. Additionally, holding roundtables with Sammamish residents can get us more input on sustainability. Suggestions like installing water refilling stations at our local parks that will reduce usage of single use plastic bottles, incentives for installing solar panels on roofs, encouraging usage of LED lighting, reusing stormwater – all these would go a long way in making Sammamish sustainable.

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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