Lake Alice impact a top issue in Phase II

SNOQUALMIE - Residents in and out of Snoqualmie had the opportunity to voice their opinions on Quadrant Corp.'s proposed Snoqualmie Ridge Phase II development for the first time last week.

Snoqualmie held a public hearing on the proposed development that, if approved and built, could add as many as 5,000 residents to the city's population.

How many of those thousands of new residents will be in rental housing has been a point of contention with the city and Quadrant. The city's recommending that at least 10 percent of the development be rental housing and that at least 15 percent of all housing be affordable by those making 80 percent of the median income for the area. Quadrant has disputed parts of that requirement, but some residents insisted that an affordable cache of homes be included in the master site plan for the development.

"Many teachers cannot afford a $250,000 home," said Jannelle McCarty, a Snoqualmie resident and teacher at Chief Kanim Middle School. "We need housing for those starting their careers."

Business owners also commented on the desire to bring in both additional housing and retail to the development.

Northwest Railway Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson said additional retail should be allowed in the development to keep "big box" retailers out of Snoqualmie.

David Korma, whose family owns Renaissance Salon and Spa in the Snoqualmie Ridge retail area, said more homes are needed to bring more customers to his business.

"We would be in serious jeopardy if we don't have more population to support our business," Korma said.

Most of the comments, however, came from residents in the Lake Alice neighborhood, which is directly west of the Snoqualmie Ridge development. Residents from Lake Alice, located in unincorporated King County, have long kept an eye on the development, which is located within yards of some of their homes.

The Lake Alice residents reiterated their desire to keep any trace of the massive development away from their homes. Despite mitigation measures from the first phase of the development, residents said they are affected by the neighborhood's light and noise pollution. Traffic from Snoqualmie Parkway and the light from the Snoqualmie Ridge development, especially on cloudy nights, were some of the things residents said were spilling over natural buffers and into their neighborhood.

Lake Alice residents also were worried that additional development will affect their neighborhood's groundwater, which runs not only into Lake Alice but also into resident's wells. While there have been studies done that stated the development would have no adverse effects on the groundwater into Lake Alice, residents remained skeptical.

"There are a bunch of assumptions being made about water flows," said Lake Alice resident Mark Myers. "The studies that have been done have been grossly inadequate."

A road that runs between Lake Alice and the Snoqualmie Ridge development that's used only for emergency vehicles was another concern brought up. With plans for the development and a school boundary change that would send Snoqualmie Ridge children to Fall City for middle school, some attending the meeting thought there would be additional pressure to develop the emergency road into a public road. Although a case was made for access to Snoqualmie's proposed grocery store and community center, Lake Alice residents said the traffic that would result from developing the road would put too much of a burden on their neighborhood. They said they would continue to fight any effort to develop the road and would continue to insist that any move in that direction would hinge on a supportive vote by half of the Lake Alice residents.

"We will stand behind that [holding a vote to develop the road]," said Lake Alice resident Steve Enevold.

* The city is scheduled to vote on the master site plan for the development at a special March 31 meeting at 6 p.m. at the Union Hall, 8086 Railroad Ave. S.E., in Snoqualmie.

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