• Sammamish homeowners fighting development over salmon and traffic concerns

    By: David Ham

    Updated:

    SAMMAMISH, Wash. - When homeowners in Sammamish heard that developer William E. Buchan wanted to build 30 new homes next to the existing Chestnut Estates, they were surprised."We were sold a bill of goods which is a dead end road which is not the case anymore," said Christie Malchow who lives on SE 8th Street.

    Buchan is proposing building the homes on 85 acres, as well as a bridge that would cross Ebright Creek.

    "It's not just 30 homes we're concerned about, it's a thoroughfare all the way down to East Lake Sammamish Parkway," said Malchow.

    Not to mention, there are environmental concerns.

    "We have bald eagles out here, we have hawks, we have bear, we have everything and it's kind of nice," said Malchow.

    But fish biologist and Sammamish resident Wally Pereyra says new construction could kill kokanee salmon in the creek.

    Just recently he spent $300,000 of his own money for a salmon habitat restoration project on Ebright Creek.

    "Ebright Creek is one of the last spawning populations on Lake Sammamish and the population of kokanee salmon in Lake Sammamish has gotten down to 58 fish in the last few years," Pereyra added, "This development has got the potential to accelerate the sliding problems that we've experienced that have the tendency that have put mud in the creek and in the past has completely obliterated a spawning run of fish."

    Pereyra, Malchow and several other neighbors have hired attorneys to appeal the city's decision to green-light the plans to build.

    They argue that the city should have ordered an environmental impact study before approving the plans.

    "The city made a good faith judgment that an EIS was not required based on the rules and regulations.  So we preceded that way," said Tim Larson, spokesperson for the city of Sammamish.

    Larson added, "The city followed the rules that are in place for projects like this based on rules to protect the environment."

    Pererya isn't convinced, so he plans to fight to require a review.

    "This creek is part of me and to see it destroyed is something that is intolerable as far as I’m concerned," said Pereyra.

    A hearing examiner is expected to make a decision on the environmental impact study and the project in June.

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