“What is SEPA?
The state environmental Policy Act (SEPA) provides a way to identify possible environmental impacts that may result from governmental decisions. These decisions may be related to issuing permits for private projects, constructing public facilities, or adopting regulations, policies or plans.
The SEPA Rules establish the requirements for conducting environmental review or a proposal. Information provided during the SEPA review process helps agency decision-makers, applicants, and the public understand how a proposal will affect the environment. This information can be used to change a proposal to reduce likely impacts, or to condition or deny a proposal when adverse environmental impacts are identified.”
From Citizens’ Guide to SEPA Review and Commenting – Publication #02-06-017 – Washington State Department of Ecology
As citizens, we need to inform our government of our concerns. For the Ebright Creek Park project, the public comment period was from June 26, 2003 to July 16, 2003. Excerpts from many of the comment letters are available below:
1. Walter Pereyra’s comment letter focuses on the negative impact of the proposed park on the native Kokanee salmon. The increase discharge in Ebright Creek, the reduced aquifer recharge, chemical pollutants and flooding impacts are several results from the proposed park.
2. Jay and Marianne Wilkin”s comment letter emphasizes that alternatives to the preferred master plan have not been considered. Construction of Ebright Creek Park can be accomplished with limited intrusion onto the wetlands, wetland buffer, and stream buffer. There are alternative sites to the proposed ball fields including the city owned property called The Commons.
3. The Dan DeFranco comment letter provided the city with a noise study indicating that adverse noise impacts, that could not be mitigated, would result from the proposed ball fields.
4. Alex Jones objects to the fast track approach to the Park’s development as well as the excess traffic, environmental degradation, noise and demolition of an existing home.
5. Joanna Buehler states “SLS (Save Lake Sammamish) supports all kinds of recreation, passive and active, however, due to the topographical and geological constraints of Ebright Park, trying to fit a ballfield and parking into this site is like the Ugly Sisters trying to wedge their big feet into Cinderella’s tiny glass slipper! We urge you to protect the headwaters, water quality and Kokanee of Ebright Creek by keeping the existing trees and wetland intact…”
6. Lynda Roberts finds it unreasonable for the city to create an attraction on an unsafe street (212th Av SE). She goes on to say that the proposed park is contrary to the city parks plan and fails to address the needs of the neighborhood. It is also contrary to the following Land Use Goals of the City of Sammamish Comprehensive Plan:
a. “Encourage land use patterns that promote walkability, diversity, and creativity.”
b. “Respect the character, integrity, and unique qualities of existing neighborhoods.”
c. “Preserve trees and other natural resources as integral components of the community’s overall design.”
d. “Preserve scenic corridors and natural vistas.”
e. “Practice environmental stewardship by protecting, enhancing, and promoting the natural environment within Sammamish and the surrounding communities.
f. “Involve the neighborhood early in the design process.”
7. Bob and Charlotte Sherwin object to the way the public was left out of the planning process for Ebright Creek Park. What is really needed is a place residents can walk and jog safely.
8. Steve and Mary Doerrer welcome a park but do object to the removal of the trees (54 large fir trees) to place unwanted athletic fields in the “neighborhood park” that has numerous environmental constraints. There are alternatives for the ball fields but the natural beauty of the large trees can not be replaced any time soon.
9. The Ramermans’, Christina and Matt have concluded that the proposed Ebright Creek Park will adversely impact Ebright Creek; its fauna and environment. Noise pollution will result from the ball fields. There is inadequate buffering from their property to the park.
10.Lori McIntosh is concerned that 5,699 cubic yards of fill dirt will cover more thatn 1/10 of an acre of wetland and would require a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers. No permit has been applied for. She quotes Lee Springgate who suggests that communities are best served by parallel park systems. That is, parks that provide active recreation and those that provide for the protection of open space, wildlife corridors, wetlands, historic sites and passive recreation. Lori wants Ebright to be that nature preserve and allow for recreational sports fields in more developed areas near schools, city halls or community centers.
11. The Nunns, Doug and Robin state that “…the public would be better served at this site (Ebright) by leaving some wooded area for picnicking, enjoying the creek and the peaceful nature of the environment.”
12.Vali Eberhardt sent a picture of an unused ball field. She states “The kind of park many of us enjoy is a place with old growth trees in the middle, which provide shade and are home to squirrels and a variety of birds. A park with ponds and flower gardens, a quiet place where deer can wander by as we relax and interact with friends and family. A place which has year round interest and activities for all ages. This site (Ebright) already has the elements necessary to create such a park, so please don’t turn it into yet another clear cut, fenced in, seasonally used, ball field.”
13. The Bachesta’s, Jim and Robyn wrote “My family and the community that I live in, are very much opposed to the creation of the Ebright Creek Park as a sports park.” The impact to our rural life will be negative and significant resulting in increased noise, increased traffic, increased theft and vandalism, and increased pollution to Ebright Creek. “To destroy this ecosystem in the name of organized sports does not reflect our community values, nor the mandate set forth in the city’s comprehensive plan.”
14. Mark McGill wrote “I am completely opposed to the building of the ball fields at Ebright Creek Park. This is a rural area and it is inappropriate to place such a facility in a remote rural neighborhood with poor vehicular access and many sensitive areas.”
15. Mike Robbins notes that if you have walked the property, you would have noticed the close proximity of the park to its surrounding neighbors. Placing a ball field in the middle of this quiet semi-rural neighborhood would create a high level of stress with the park’s neighbors.”
16.Nan Gordon suggested that the park have arboretum-style plantings, be a gathering place for Art in the park events, have some kind of sign recognizing natural features of the place, include sculptural benches that incorporate inspirational quotes.
17.Erica Tiliacos concludes her comments by saying “Please make this a park we want, a park we can remember for what it has, nor for what was lost. Ballparks are desolate places when not being used for their intended activity. Just check out the ballpark 4/10ths of a mile down the road.”