Developers Raise $50,000 To Fight New Sammamish City

A developer-backed campaign opposing Sammamish Plateau incorporation raised $50,000 in three weeks.

Meanwhile, a citizens group backing the proposed city of Sammamish has raised about $8,000, including $5,000 from a man fighting a MurrayFranklyn project near his home.

Voters on the fast-growing plateau between Issaquah and Redmond will decide Nov. 3 whether to form a city. It would have 28,000 residents and a tax base slightly smaller than Mercer Island's.

Incorporation has been a decade-long goal of some residents who believe a local government would do a better job managing the area's growth than King County.

WAIT, the last-minute campaign backed by Bellevue developers, questions whether the area would lose out on county road projects if a city forms, and whether taxes would actually decline, as Sammamish backers suggest.

At stake for developers is the possibility of more restrictive land-use controls in an area that's been the great Klondike of home building for the last 10 years.

Records checks show that $25,000 of the $50,000 given to incorporation opponents came from subsidiaries of MurrayFranklyn, one of the Plateau's biggest developers.

MurrayFranklyn executives did not return phone calls for comment.

New campaign reports filed by WAIT say it received $15,000 from a company called Vancouver Mega-Storage at 1440 Bel-Red Road in Bellevue.

However, there is no such address or company in Bellevue, and directory assistance found no such listing in Vancouver, Wash., or Vancouver, B.C.

Campaign organizer Steve Excell said the money came from a limited partnership but didn't know who the partners are or where it's located.

"I don't know myself, because I haven't been handling any of the finances," said Excell, who is also working on the pro-Referendum 49 campaign.

When presented the errors, Excell said his firm had computer problems that could have resulted in typos. He also said it doesn't research the source of donations.

"We don't hire private investigators," he said. "As long as they want to support the no side we take the checks."

State records show the partnership was formed in February by executives of MurrayFranklyn, and that the partnership is based at MurrayFranklyn's office at 14410 Bel-Red Road.

WAIT also received $10,000 from a company listed as "Meadow Creek" at 1410 Bel-Red Road, another nonexistent address. MurrayFranklyn owns a Plateau office complex called Meadow Creek Professional Center.

The third recent gift to the campaign came from another major homebuilder, Bellevue-based William E. Buchan Inc., which gave $10,000.

Other WAIT donors include Bellevue developers Chateau Development and Polygon Northwest that together gave $15,000.

Meanwhile the pro-incorporation group, Citizens for Sammamish Incorporation, last week filed its first campaign report since forming in June and yesterday filed its third. They show the group has raised about $14,600.

"We want this to be grass roots," said organizer Dave Irons Sr., who donated services such as signs. "We don't want anybody buying it like the developers are trying to do."

The biggest donation was a $5,000 gift from Scott Hamilton, a Plateau resident and editor of aviation trade magazine.

Hamilton is currently fighting a housing development proposed near his home by MurrayFranklyn subsidiary Pacific Properties.

Brier Dudley's phone message number is 206-515-5687. His e-mail address is: