At a special meeting scheduled last week, the Sammamish City Council unanimously adopted an interim emergency ordinance that dramatically alters the city's tree retention and replanting policies. The city council's decision came after an hour of public comment, during which at least two dozen citizens urged the council to take action. In at least one instance, threats were made to councilmembers regarding the 2015 elections. Property owners opposed to the ordinance were in attendance as well, and spoke eloquently to the effect these rule changes would have on their land value. Meanwhile, your Association advocated aggressively for the two weeks leading up to the meeting to stop this from happening and we followed those efforts with strong testimony against the interim ordinance.
On Friday, Oct. 10, the city of Bellevue and your Association cohosted the first quarterly Bellevue Roundtable. Mayor Claudia Balducci was present to kick the meeting off and her staying in its entirety provided strong support for this effort. Association member representation was strong, and the topics discussed included current permit timelines, the opportunity to allow fee simple townhomes and the definition of façade height.
Recently, interested Association members sat down with city of Marysville planning staff to discuss fee simple opportunities in that jurisdiction. City staff was able to point out that their current code already allows for many of the fee simple opportunities we have been promoting elsewhere. The city will look to make some further code changes to respond to member needs, including allowing a fee simple overlay of existing condominium development as well as the possibility of allowing such development on sites of less than one acre.
On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the Snohomish County Council unanimously adopted new regulations for tree retention and replacement. For over one year, your Association has sought the adopted changes that will enable developers to better utilize buildable land within urban growth areas. The county’s existing replacement ratio requirements have been replaced with a forward thinking tree canopy approach.
Last Friday, April 18, the Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee held a public hearing on small-lot legislation and a briefing on proposed changes to microhousing. Unfortunately the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) small-lot legislation makes the code more confusing and would have the unintended consequence of preventing existing single-family residents from adding on to their homes.
Labor & Industries' (L&I) "Stay at Work" program s a new financial incentive program that encourages employers to bring their injured workers quickly and safely back to light-duty or transitional work by reimbursing them for a portion of their costs. Your association recently had a Group Retrospective Insurance Program (GRIP) participant who received the full $10,000 reimbursement, so you will want to check this out!
Guest columnist and renowned economist Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of GraphsandLaughs, LLC, This gives an economic forecast for GDP, employment, inflation and a time-line for Fed action regarding short-term interest rates.