Settlement will lead to new houses

August 1, 2013

By Ari Cetron

New: Aug. 1, 1:42 p.m.

Up to 252 new houses could be built near the Mystic Lake area just outside the Sammamish city limits after the city council unanimously approved a legal settlement July 9.

Toll Washington, LP is the contract purchaser of Mystic Lake and at least two other properties. Mystic Lake, a former goat’s milk dairy, sits on an L-shaped area carved out of northeast Sammamish south of Christa McAuliffe Elementary School and west of 244th Avenue.

The other two properties, called the Shillam Parcel and Northeast 16th Parcel, lie west of 244th. One additional property know as either the Freeman Property or Twins Ridge, would also be subject to the terms of the agreement if Toll Washington should develop it.

All four properties lie outside the city of Sammamish. However, all four lie inside the county’s urban growth boundary and inside Sammamish’s Potential Annexation Area, meaning they are destined, at some point in the future, to become part of Sammamish.

Since the land isn’t in Sammamish, the developers would build under King County’s regulations, City Attorney Bruce Disend explained during the meeting. But the proximity to Sammamish means the residents would likely use Sammamish roads and parks.

“Still, there will be impacts,” Disend said.

In response, Sammamish wanted Toll to pay impact fees for roads and parks, similar to the fees they charge developers operating inside the city. They also wanted Toll to develop its roads to Sammamish standards, which call for wider roads than the county does.

Toll had questioned if the city had a right to impose such conditions on land outside the city, according to the settlement agreement.

The city, for its part, was considering appealing the project’s environmental impacts, and otherwise challenging the terms of the development.

Both sides wanted to avoid court, which Disend said could be uncertain, so they hashed out a settlement.

“This is a compromise of sorts,” he said.

The agreement calls for Toll to pay Sammamish’s impact fees, although at levels substantially below what they would pay to develop inside the city. Toll will pay Sammamish $9,500 per lot in transportation fees. The going rate inside the city is $14,854.

Toll will also pay Sammamish $1,700 in parks impact fees per lot. Inside the city, those same fees are $2,606.

If all the lots on all four sites are developed, that would mean Sammamish would receive a little more than $2.8 million.

Additionally, Toll will conform with city standards and have 28-foot wide streets, instead of 24. The developer will provide a left turn lane from northbound 244th Avenue onto Northeast 14th Street. It will also contribute $100,750 toward construction of sidewalks along 244th.

Toll also agrees to work with the city on annexing the land into Sammamish, when the city feels the timing is right.

As is common in legal settlements, the council voted without commenting. Representatives from Toll did not return a call for comment.

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