PWI wants decision, and soon
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:28 PM
SNOQUALMIE _ The president of Puget Western Inc. told City
Council members at Monday night's meeting that an opportunity exists to
preserve a portion of the proposed Fall Crossing project slated to be
developed, but in order to do so, the company needs a decision by the end
of the year.
Addressing "rumors" concerning the purchase of part of the Falls
Crossing land, Bob Boyd said his company would complete discussions about
an option purchase agreement in the next one to two weeks. He added that if
the City Council didn't vote on the application by the first of the year, the
option purchase agreement would not go forward.
"It'll fall off our charts," he told council members Dick Kirby
and Frank Lonergan. Councilwoman Colleen Johnson had recused herself
from the meeting, and council members Cathy Reed and Marcia Korich
Boyd later said it was "premature" to say what group PWI officials
had been meeting with, but Nancy Keith, executive director of the Mountains
to Sound Greenway Trust, told the Valley Record in September that the
organization was working to facilitate preserving part of the land.
"We're looking for a way to help preserve the land that's fair to
everybody," she previously said.
Boyd's comments came after Kirby suggested that the City
Council set aside time before its next few meetings to discuss the Falls Crossing
application. He recommended that the talks should start at 6 p.m. and end
at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes before the regular council meeting is scheduled to
Kirby asked city staff to prepare information for the council's Nov.
27 meeting that would provide an overview of the proposal and show how
it has evolved over time. At its December meeting, the council would
then address concerns about the proposal. He also suggested an early start
time for the council's meeting in January.
After Kirby spoke, Boyd addressed the council, calling for a
decision by year's end. While the council was in executive session, he
said PWI was giving the council a chance to potentially preserve part of the
Falls Crossing land if it voted in the next month and a half.
Boyd added that the company has been working for three years on
ways to preserve part of the land, but little interest had been shown and PWI
can wait only so long.
"After three years of trying to find ways to preserve this property, it's
time to cut it off," he said.
"We don't have any incentive for a voluntary agreement after the
beginning of the year."
Upon hearing Boyd's remarks, Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher
adjourned the meeting to confer with city staff. After calling the meeting
back to order, he did not directly address the comments, saying the Nov.
27 meeting would begin at 6 p.m. and "we'll leave it up to staff for the
Boyd said he wasn't disappointed that the council didn't address his
"If they reject the opportunity, we're going to feel very good we
gave them an opportunity to decide," he said.
In other business, the council voted 3-0 to set its general tax
levy for the 2001 budget at 106 percent, 4 percent above the 102 percent
cap called for with the recent passage of Initiative 722.
City Administrator Gary Armstrong said if I-722 is ruled
constitutional, the city would be forced to refund taxpayers about
$111,000. He added the money would come out of the city's contingency fund, but
it's not something he's looking forward to.
"We did not want to use our contingency on the very first year we
set it up," he said.
Armstrong added the council could set the levy at 102 percent,
but if I-722 was ruled unconstitutional, the city wouldn't be able to increase
the levy rate.
"It would put the city in some trying times," said Fletcher. "We're
just getting our head above water, and we're beginning to see the light at
the end of the tunnel."
Johnson said the passage of I-722 came at a bad time for
Snoqualmie, which had only recently ended its shortfall agreement
"This year for us is critical, and it's not what I want to do, but I don't
see any choice," she said.
Both Kirby and Lonergan agreed.
"My problem with 102 [percent] is we asked these guys [city staff]
to come with a bare-bones budget at 106," Lonergan said.