Council checks in on status of proposed Sambica Activity Center rezone

Council checks in on status of proposed Sambica Activity Center rezone

The application for the rezoning was filed on Feb. 25.

The Bellevue City Council is mulling the potential rezoning of the Sambica Activity Center, a summer camp and retreat center.

Bellevue’s land use director updated the city council at its Sept. 3 meeting.

The center, located at 4114 West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, is currently zoned as Neighborhood Business District (NB), Single-Family Residential (R-5) and Multi-Family Residential (R-20), and is made up of parcels totaling 7.62 acres.

The application for the rezoning, which is categorized as a quasi-judicial process III application, was filed by Sambica ministries director Ryan Gilbert on behalf of the center on Feb. 25, 2019. The rezone is being proposed in order to function in the Camp and Conference Center’s (CCC) comprehensive plan designation, which enables the Sambica Activity Center to develop and improve facilities that are in line with the standards mapped out by the plan.

“This rezone will provide consistency with the comprehensive plan,” said Liz Stead, Bellevue’s land use director.

The current comprehensive plan was adopted by the city on Aug. 3, 2015, following two years of public outreach. Covering a 20-year period, the plan acts as a foundational document for Bellevue’s growth and development through the enaction of new resources and programs.

The application for a rezone is in response to a Feb. 17, 2009, comprehensive plan amendment (Ordinance No. 5859) that created a new CCC zoning designation. In 2014, city council amended and then approved the Bellevue Land Use Code in order to make the rezoning a possibility. Gilbert’s application, which was published on March 28, 2019, specifically calls for a rezoning from its current zoning locations to CCC.

A public meeting hosted on April 8, 2019, had low attendance but saw residents speak in favor of the rezone and redevelopment plans. Since the meeting, the city, according to the hearing examiner’s summary provided for the Sept. 3 meeting, has not received any comments that evince a negative reaction to the potential rezoning.

The Sambica Activity Center, still awaiting approval for the rezone, has submitted applications for a design review and master development plan.

On June 6, 2019, the city released a recommendation and staff report approving the rezone. On June 27, 2019, the hearing examiner also issued a recommendation for the approval.

Stead said at the meeting that the proposed rezoning meets the criteria necessary to execute a rezoning, including a shown substantial relationship to public health, safety and welfare and proven merit and value to the wider community.

The activity center has been operating since 1919 and operates as a non-denominational retreat and Christian camp location. Typically, it’s busiest during the summer season, during which it offers about 10 weeks of a multitude of camps.

The council did not have any questions about the rezoning. Approval from the council will likely occur at the Sept. 16 meeting.

For more information about the proposed rezoning and its history, see the hearing examiner’s summary online (

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Social media site Parler returns after registering with Sammamish company

The right-wing social media website is not being hosted by Epik, but registered its domain.

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Jay Inslee takes the oath of office for his third term as governor. (Governor Jay Inslee)
Governor Inslee: We are going forward toward a ‘new normal’

At the start of an historic third term, the governor is charting a course out of the pandemic.

Most Read