Railway museum project approved

SNOQUALMIE - A King County hearing examiner has approved a conditional use permit and variances that would allow the Northwest Railway Museum to build a Conservation and Restoration Center off Stoen Quarry Road.

The Wednesday, Feb. 5, decision pleased Northwest Railway Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson.

"It's taken a long time but in the end the museum is doing what is best for the community in the design of this project," said Anderson.

The project is now in a 14-day appeal period.

If completed, the $1.2 million, 8,180-square-foot center would house the museum's trains or cars while they are being restored. Two tracks would go into the center, which would feature a walkway that allows visitors to see the restoration efforts.

The two variances granted by the hearing examiner would allow buffers on the property, which the museum owns, to be reduced. One 30-foot buffer, which is similar to the one required for the museum's downtown location, would be reduced to 15 feet. The other, a 15-foot buffer required for properties bordering wetlands, would be reduced to 7 1/2 feet.

Opponents of the project have said that the building will aggravate and pollute the water that flows through nearby creeks with chemicals used by the museum facility.

Museum officials have said any chemical use will be done inside the building and should not escape into surrounding waters.

Anderson said the timeline of the project is contingent on the appeal process, but added the next step will be to finish some minor design work and then officials will apply for a building permit.

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