‘It ‘s precisely a small chunk of ground where you can open the doors and have a little bite of privacy. ‘ – Donovan Albrecht Frank and Maureen Santoni have made a beautiful dwelling for themselves. Their 30 year old forest house sits in a small clear, near to Sammamish City Hall and 228th Avenue but sheltered from the noise of the street by improbable Douglas Fir, Maple and Alder trees. Frank and Maureen Santoni have made a beautiful home for themselves. Their 30 year old timber house sits in a small clearing, close to Sammamish City Hall and 228th Avenue but sheltered from the noise of the street by improbable Douglas Fir, Maple and Alder trees.

When I visited the Santoni ’ randomness recently, walking up to their front porch in the evening the smell of cedar burn in their woodstove filled the air. When the impregnable wind split the colored cloud, there were the stars. Like many people who enjoy the peace and quiet that pockets of Sammamish propose, they are regularly visited by raccoons and deer, hawk and eagles, the casual unobserved bobcat. It is a quality of life they have measuredly sought, a defining trait of what they value as residents. It is besides one that they fear is now threatened by the development of the proposed Sammamish Town Center .
The Santonis have watched on as plans have changed and morphed, launched and been abandoned, in the short-circuit history of the city. They took a keen pastime in the deliberations of the first Planning Advisory Board, a unpaid group of residents charged with drafting Sammamish ’ randomness first comprehensive plan. Most weeks you will find them in the populace gallery at council or planning commission meetings. “ We good truly like where we live, and we want to know what ’ s going on in our city, ” Maureen said. The Santoni ’ s property on Sixth Avenue Southeast sits at the overlap of two of the proposed Town Center ’ s most controversial zones – the ‘ A ’ zone of the confederacy east quadrant, and the ‘ E ’ zone, where they are, to its south. just yards from their movement door is the property occupation where the south east quadrant begins, a section of farming whose owners recently asked the city to amend the limits on development density to allow for tall buildings and more retail quad .

At the eastern limit of their property begins a ‘ B ’ zone, which will require a minimal concentration of eight units an acre at a maximum stature of four stories. While much of the Town Center debate therefore far has centered around whether or not the city ’ randomness plan will provide enough commercial opportunities on the Plateau, the Santonis are concerned that something of greater respect will be lost if the council does not remain firm in its conviction to limit development density and construction heights. They say it was the relative repose of the set that attracted them, and many like them, in the first seat, and the city would be compromising its brightest asset if became excessively concerned with commerce and condominium. On 228th Avenue, they are, in many ways, at the heart of the storm. “ We realize that we are on a prime road up here, ” Frank said. “ We always knew it was going to be developed, to some extent. But all we truly want is for that development to be allow. Under the Galvin design ( to increase concentration in the south east quadrant to their union ), we would have a four story building right up against our property wrinkle. ” One of things the city must do, Frank said, is form a design review board which would make surely new buildings and structures would “ keep the feel of the stead, to keep Sammamish looking like it does. ”

They are an educated couple engaged with their community, who have, through their own efforts, stayed close up to the goings-on at city dormitory over the past 10 years. And what they are seeing of former has them worried. “ What I ’ thousand spirit is that now there is a ( Town Center ) plan in topographic point, there is pressure now to increase concentration on a plan that hasn ’ t even been tried and tested, ” Frank said. “ Really, my concern is that even the concentration they have nowadays isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate bearable. ” They point to the vacate retail buildings merely down the hill in Issaquah, such as Joes Sporting Goods on Gilman Boulevard and Albertsons on East Lake Sammamish Parkway as attest that existing commercial space exceeds the requirement for it. “ When the city moved out of their outer space in the Highlands Shopping Center to move into city dormitory, it took six months to get another business in there, ” Frank recalled. “ lapp with the Blockbuster Video. ” Maureen said she had no problems with the relative miss of retail on the Plateau. “ I don ’ thymine mind at all going down to Fred Meyer. I surely don ’ t want it following door, ” she said. “ Besides, with all the growth they are planning in the Highlands, with the film etc, could it very be sustained hera ? ” Frank saw the late council decision to ignore the recommendation of its planning commission to continue a bachelor of arts in nursing on electronic lector boards in residential zones as a sign that the things they rate about Sammamish are under threat. “ We don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want this to turn into Aurora Avenue, ” he said. “ There is decidedly a exploitation mentality on the council. It ’ s the business they ’ re in – they have a natural proclivity to see exploitation. ” A stone ’ second throw, possibly two, across 228th to the west is the 2.25 acre place Donovan Albrecht and his wife Helen have called home since 1976. There is a modest house, a prefabricate construction the Albrechts trucked up to the Plateau from Issaquah 30 years ago. That was the lapp year he

and a few buddies, one of whom had a fresh backhoe, another had a road grader, built the first road into the place, from South East 4th Street. Over the years he has kept it graded with his 1952 Allis-Chalmers covenant grader. rear then the property didn ’ thyroxine look excessively different to what it does today, apart from a few small homes nearby and Albrecht ’ s uncompromising fences. He is a grandiloquent man, getting on in years – he moves with the stiff, patient log of an erstwhile farmer around a paddock he knows very well. A sport of his identify is the old incubator barn which wasn ’ metric ton in great condition when Albrecht got to it, but thanks to a few coats of paint, some ceiling repairs and batch of nails, is one of the best examples of historic computer architecture in a city quickly losing contact with the buildings of its by. “ I know it ’ s a least 72 years old, ” he said. “ A few years ago I was doing some work on the locate and I found a piece of siding that said on it ‘ Bill loves Faye – 1937. ‘ ”

The Bill was Bill Schween, who owned the country some years before. Turns out, Faye loved Bill excessively, because the two were later married. After they found it, the Albrechts presented the piece of siding to Bill and Faye. According to Albrecht, Bill passed away some years ago, and Faye lives in a nurse home in Redmond. The history of the land he calls home plate is not lost on Albrecht. But he ’ randomness apprehensive that it is lost on the planners in city hall. Under the current Town Center design, his property would be zoned to encourage the construction of up to 20 dwellings per acre, a mix of apartments, townhomes, and cottages. As landowners around him jostle to increase the measure of their property in the eyes of developers, Albrecht equitable wants to keep some of his peace and quiet. “ It ’ s just a little ball of flat coat where you can open the doors and have a little spot of privacy, ” he said. “ I want to live here adenine long as the full Lord allows. ”

Standing out by the old barn, looking over the wetlands and pond a few hundred feet from his southerly fence, it is not hard to see why. Ducks mill about on the pond, the water surface breaking occasionally as the bass fertilize. The gully at its wall socket is filled by and large with blackberries, but the trees that Bob Lynette planted there in the 1970s have transformed what used to be a paddock for cows. Huge yellow apples hang from a volunteer apple tree. The proximity of what is a noteworthy river basin and environmental agreeableness should complicate the picture for developers, as the city has stated the preservation, and improvement, of environmental features in the Town Center is a priority. The city ’ s Town Center document states that assorted use development “ should incorporate natural areas such as wetlands, stream corridors, wildlife corridors and stands of senesce trees as amenities into the assorted use nodes where possible. ” But Albrecht is worried that among the councilors and councilors-elect there are not many who have demonstrated a desire to choose ecology over economy. “ Don Gerend said to me once ‘ if you play it right field with a developer, you might get an apartment out of this, ‘ ” he said. “ I ’ meter not concern in that. ” As we walked back up the steep slope to his barn, I began to understand why Albrecht feels thus compelled to explain the attachment to his home, to put it into words and tell the council why he doesn ’ metric ton want it to change, this domain where he raised a family. “ Ah, it ’ s been a bad class, ” he said, falling silent, water well in his eyes, confused, awkward. After a few long moments of silence, he told me their son Daniel had died a few months back. I didn ’ t ask any more. But he showed me Daniel ’ s prized motorbike, which he keeps under the barn, immaculate and gleam. On the walls inside are some posters his son once brought back from France, some model cars, treasures. Albrecht is proud of the old barn he has done much to restore, and feels it could be a feature of the Town Center, along with the pond and exuberant gully nearby. “ It ’ south got a fair lean to it, I know, but that thing will keep on standing for another hundred years, if they look after it, ” he said. “ They could turn it into a picnic descry, the barn would be a full shelter, there ’ second room for parking. ”

With the council unwilling to help preserve that icon of Sammamish history, the Freed House, barns like this one will surely be prized rarities in years to come. City of Sammamish Director of Community Development Kamuron Gurol said he was mindful there were a number of place owners in the Town Center area eager keep things the room they are. “ Polling of property owners a few years ago showed us there are some not concern in developing or selling their land, ” he said. “ A couple of those properties are inconveniently located. ” Gurol said these properties represented a challenge that developers would have to meet, and said planners were looking at the experience of early cities, such as University Place, which had difficulties proceeding with major developments when person landowners didn ’ t share their imagination. “ There are a copulate of ways of skinning that caterpillar, ” Gurol said. “ Cities do a lot of different things. Some go out and buy all the land and become, basically, the passkey developer. This city made a decision early on that it didn ’ thymine want to do that. ” He did say that the city presently owned a small number of properties in the Town Center, such as the Kellman Mansion, and the option of purchasing more property in authoritative areas of the proposed development was one they could consider. Gurol besides said it was possible that some of the opposition to the development would erode over clock, as plans became clear, and estate passed into new ownership through sale or inheritance. Frank and Maureen Santoni and Donovan Albrecht are worry the city may resort to increasing property taxes on their parcels to drive them away. The “ over my dead body ” stand-off is one that major developers are however struggling to deal with, despite the enormous resources at their disposal and the privilege of local and submit governments .

The celebrated floor of Edith Macefield ’ s refusal to sell her small home in Ballard to make to make room for a big construction project not merely made national newsworthiness but besides made developers change their plans. Macefield ’ s little theater became a symbol of local residents ’ increasing enemy to the gentrification of the vicinity and the corrosion of older values. It is a lesson that the City of Sammamish would do well to heed as landowners in the Town Center begin to dig their heels in to the state, and homes, that they love.

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