City issues stop work order after pair of trees felled
October 2, 2013
By Ari Cetron
What started as a bit of confusion over parking led to the city of Sammamish issuing a stop work order for a property under construction on 207th Avenue.
Construction vehicles had parked on a road marked as a private street, Development Director Kamuron Gurol told the City Council Sept. 16. Neighbors had complained about the situation and the city went to investigate. Eventually, officials determined the road was actually a public road — and the city had erroneously put up a sign saying it was private –but also noticed other problems.
In the course of developing the property, construction crews had put up inadequate fencing to contain erosion, and they’d gone beyond the limits of clearing, taking out vegetation they were supposed to preserve, including a pair of significant trees, Gurol said.
He noted that the property is a difficult one to develop, and he does not think he’ll be issuing any other building permits in the area.
Gurol issued a stop work order. The city is working with the applicant, Paul Northwest, to fix the issues.
“We want them to get in and complete the work on site. We just want him to do it in a proper fashion,” Gurol said.
Stop work orders are fairly rare in Sammamish. The city first engages in a practice called “knock-and-talk.” In most cases, building officials notice a violation of building codes and works with builders to fix them.
Stop work orders only come in more serious situations.
“They are issued when all efforts to compliance have been exhausted or the violation is so egregious that there will be many requirements to be met before work can start back up again,” wrote Kurt Aldworth, a Sammamish building official.
Aldworth said Sammamish generally has four to five stop work orders over the course of a year.
At the Sept. 16 meeting, Gurol went on to explain the city will be imposing the stiffest penalties permitted under city code, noting Paul Northwest is a repeat offender.
Aldworth said Paul has had two other similar instances of clearing violations within the past five years. He also said there had been seven other cases in Sammamish involving Paul.
The city will require Paul Northwest to replant the trees. While Gurol had yet to determine the ratio, he said it could go as high as planting eight trees for each one cut down.
Jyoti Paul, managing member of Paul Northwest, downplayed the problem. He said he has respect for the neighbors, the city and the regulations.
He acknowledged that the builder might have gone over the lines.
“There might have been a little work outside of the clearing limits,” Paul said in an interview.
Paul said he’s been involved in 30-40 developments in Sammamish over about the past five years. He said he’s had a low number of problematic incidents.
Since the meeting, the issues have been resolved, Paul said, and construction has begun again. He hopes it will be complete in the next four to six months. He does not yet have a buyer lined up, he said.