Snoqualmie council ponders special town hall meeting for impacts of affordable housing plan

A special town hall meeting on the civic impacts of a proposed affordable housing development on Snoqualmie Ridge looks to be in the works.

During Monday evening's regular Snoqualmie City Council meeting, Councilwoman Kathi Prewitt polled council members on the best date in March for a special town-hall style meeting on the Imagine Housing development near Eagle Pointe.

That meeting appears to be coming on or about March 20.

Two citizens spoke during the public comment period, both voicing a need for additional information about the planned 160-unit affordable housing development. Imagine, the chief Eastside developer of affordable units, wants to build seven buildings with three stories on property between Eagle Pointe and the new Snoqualmie Valley Hospital. The development is aimed at families earning 60 percent of the median income in King County, roughly $47,000 for a three-person family.

Resident Jim Renahan said there are still more than 80 unanswered questions raised at recent open houses on the proposal.

Another resident, Paula Metzger, raised some of them. How would the city, police, fire department and school district be affected, and what sort of tax exemptions are contemplated? Will it lead to a tax increase in the future, Metzger asked. What are the plans to address such impacts? She wants a special meeting for answers, involving city, school and the Residential Owner's Association.

"We wanted the council, and school, to work together to let residents know what the true impact is," she said.

"How do we have a productive dialogue, about what we can do together to find productive solutions," said Renahan. "We're at  apoint where it needs to be had, because there are a lot of concerns."

"While we need to be careful, because this could become a quasi-judicial issue for us, it was clear that citizens would like a venue to get more information," Prewitt said.

Citizens, she said, "are feeling a little adrift. Imagine Housing has been the one engaging them. They're down to a lot of questions about how does it impact the city… the schools. Staff and the administration could probably put some materials together to help."


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