The City of Sammamish is developing code regulations for permitting temporary homeless encampments within the city boundary. State law requires jurisdictions to make allowances for religious organizations to host homeless encampments as part of their religious mission. The Sammamish City Council has directed staff to research the experience of peer cities, gather stakeholder input and work with the Planning Commission to develop regulations for Sammamish to permit this type of temporary land use for the health, safety and welfare of both the citizens of Sammamish and the residents of the temporary encampments.
In 2010, the Washington Legislature passed Ch. 175 (ESHB 1956), codified as RCW 35A.21.360 which authorized religious organizations to host temporary encampments for homeless persons on property owned or controlled by a religious organization. The legislation grants broad authority to religious organizations to provide shelter or housing to homeless persons on property owned or controlled by such organizations. It prohibits local governments from enacting an ordinance or regulation that imposes conditions other than those necessary to protect the public health and safety and that do not substantially burden the decisions or actions of a religious organization with respect to the provision of homeless housing. It also prohibits the imposition of permit fees in excess of the actual costs associated with the review and approval of the required permit applications for homeless housing encampments. (From House Bill Report ESHB 1956 ())
What you can do
Get involved by tracking the progress of the code development process either here or by attending the pertinent Planning Commission / City Council meetings. Please comment early and often. Your input will help inform the code development process. You may have your comments heard in the following ways:
- Send us an email: HEC@sammamish.us
- Send us a letter: Homeless Encampment Code Development Process, Attn: Tammy Mueller, 801 228th Avenue SE, Sammamish, WA 98075
- Provide public testimony at either the Planning Commission or the City Council meetings (see the schedule tab for dates/times)