In 2008, members of the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of Chamber members and local businesses. Their report to the City Council stated that Sammamish desperately needed additional commercial space. An urgent, get the job done response was needed.
At the time of the Chamber report, the City Council, Planning Commission and City Staff were completing work on a Town Center Plan. The City Council stacked the Town Center Committee and Planning Commission with their political supporters who proposed the what, where, and how of the Town Center Plan. Landowners and developers told the Planning Commission and the City Council the Town Center Plan was seriously flawed and would not work. These decision makers ignored this feedback, voted to accept the Town Center Plan, and “kicked the can down the street.” “If after three or four years, it doesn’t work, we can review it,” they said. Four years later, the plan clearly hasn’t worked.
What can be done? It may be too late. We are seeing a collapse of local businesses as they find it impossible to operate in Sammamish. The “Walmartization” of our limited commercial properties is forcing local businesses out. They are leaving the plateau or going out of business. Our local business people leave to provide quality “small town” services to Issaquah and Redmond. Sammamish is left with “strip mall” chain stores and fast food.
Ace Hardware, another victim of City Council bad planning and who cares attitude, tried to relocate to the Town Center but hit a wall of dysfunctional regulations, unrealistic demands, and exploitive fees. In Sammamish, the possible is impossible. What can be done in every other city can’t be done in Sammamish.
Check out recent events, Ace Hardware’s last-ditch effort to locate land for the store outside the town center is in critical condition and on life support. City staff are ready to pull the plug.
There is no ace in the hole for Ace Hardware, just a big hole. All that remains is to throw in the dirt and mark the grave, "Here lies Ace Hardware".