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Sammamish Council Rejects Ace Hardware Site

In its decision, the council said the proposed George Davis Creek site is not possible for Ace Hardware because the creek buffer and wetlands won’t accommodate a large footprint store.

Editor's note: The following is a press release from the city of Sammamish.

Following another briefing from staff, the City Council last night voted 7-0 to end any further efforts to place an Ace Hardware store next to George Davis Creek and 228th Avenue Southeast. The reason, according to staff: The city code, unless revised in ways that violate its most basic principles, does not allow this kind of use on the proposed site.

“It was worth a long look because everyone wants Ace Hardware to find a new home, but this use just doesn’t fit there in the midst of wetlands and a creek buffer,” City Manager Ben Yazici said. “Plus, it wouldn’t be fair to past applicants who’ve lived within the code if we suddenly changed all the rules for a favored project.”

The city has been working closely with Tim Koch, the store owner, since reports surfaced 14 months ago that Koch was having difficulty negotiating a new lease at his current location in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center.

“It’s unusual for a city to get involved in a dispute between two private businesses, but we talked to Regency Centers, Tim’s landlord, and helped facilitate a lease extension for him,” Yazici said. “We’ve also spent hundreds of hours of staff time helping Tim and his team find and evaluate other locations. And that’s something we will continue to do. Unfortunately, Tim still hasn’t found a spot that makes business sense to him.”

Here is the text of the motion passed by the City Council on Jan. 22, 2013:

Mr. Mayor, I would like to make the following statements and a proposed motion:

*         Sammamish first heard about a problem with Ace Hardware  in November 2011, and since then the city has made every effort to help keep this local business in Sammamish.

*         The City received a docket application from KinderAce in September 2012, and staff has worked with the applicant to review the proposal, identify and resolve numerous challenging issues.

*         The KinderAce proposal would require major amendments to our adopted Comprehensive Plan, to the City's land use permit procedures, and to our environmental regulations and standards.

*         The proposed site appears to be 100% constrained by important environmental features including George Davis creek, a bog-type wetland, and their associated buffers and setbacks.

*         The KinderAce proposal raises a substantial number of significant legal and policy issues, there is a danger that it creates a perception of favoritism, and the timeframe for making informed decisions is severely insufficient.

*         I therefore MOVE to DENY the KinderAce docket proposal and all subsequent amendments proposed by the applicant team, and discontinue further work on the proposal. Furthermore,  I ask the Council to direct the CM to continue to work with Ace Hardware to explore options to relocate elsewhere in Sammamish.

More Coverage of the Ace Hardware relocation issue on Patch:

Here lies Ace Hardware

Sammamish Ace Hardware Owner Continues Uphill Climb

Council Hears Two Hours of Comment on Sammamish Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware Owner Asks Sammamish to Represent at Council Meeting

Dr. John Galvin January 24, 2013 at 01:21 AM
The City Council and Staff claim that they did everything they could to help keep Ace Hardware in Sammamish. This is kind of like a careless neighbor who sets your house on fire then claims he did everything possible to keep it from burning to the ground. Not a single Council member or the City Manager and Community Development Director acknowledges that the root of the problem for Ace is a City that has made a total mess of a town center plan. 240 acres in the town center and there is not any possibility to find a new home for Ace Hardware. Something is not right!

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