News

Falls Crossing gets green light

SNOQUALMIE _ The proposed Falls Crossing Mixed-Use


development cleared a major hurdle Sept. 5 with the Snoqualmie


Planning Commission's 3-1 vote to recommend approval.


Voting for the project were Dale Sherman, Duane Johnson and


Terry Sorenson. Commissioner Carol Fix cast the lone dissenting vote.


The 182-acre site is located on Snoqualmie Parkway, with portions


of the development lying directly across from Snoqualmie Falls. The


proposal, filed by applicant Puget Western, Inc. (PWI), includes up to 370 single-


and multi-family dwellings, along with about 215,000 square feet of


office, retail and commercial space.


The Snoqualmie Tribe has voiced strong opposition to the


development throughout the hearing process, and a tribal member expressed dismay at


the outcome of the vote.


"We're very disappointed in the vote," said Andy de los Angeles,


an ethnoarcheologist who for 12 years was chairman of the


Snoqualmie Tribe. "The National Parks Service and a number of federal agencies


have done good work in protecting sites such as this, but the city has not


done good enough. We are very concerned that the viewshed will be eroded


away by development."


Noting the significance of the property in tribal history and its


importance as a religious and spiritual center, de los Angeles said there


is strong evidence of historical and archeological artifacts on the land.


"Our confidence is based on evidence found above and below the


Falls Crossing site on the same land form," he said. "People are not listening


simply because remnants of a large village have not been found in


limited test hole digs."


The recommendation to approve the project, along with the record


compiled by the planning commission, will be routed to the City Council for


review and a final determination to approve or deny the application.


The council has 90 days to make its decision.


"A lot of work and a lot of time has gone into this process," said


Nancy Tucker, Snoqualmie's planning director. "The Planning Commission


was very, very thorough, and they developed a comprehensive set of


findings and conditions. Now the City Council has to do its work and review all


the information contained in the file."


Incorporated in the recommendation are 694 findings and 136


conditions along with several exhibits, such as maps and residential design


guidelines and standards. The record also includes testimony given by


experts, study results and public comment. Several studies _ including a


wildlife survey, a traditional cultural places study and an economic study _ are


not yet completed.


The City Council will review the record developed by the


planning commission. If clarification or more information is needed, the council


can choose to reopen and add to the record. The council then has the option to


accept the commission's recommendation, make changes to the findings


and conditions or come to independent conclusions and deny the application.


"We acknowledge that this Mixed-Use approval process has been


difficult for all parties involved," said Bob Boyd, PWI president. "We are


pleased that the Planning Commission and city staff went through such a thorough


and open review, and we are relieved that this major step in the approval


process is behind us. We want to thank everyone who was involved in this process.


"The Planning Commission gave it a great


deal of time and effort, and they were very diligent


in their review."


Bob Boyd


President, Puget Western Inc.


Prior to the vote, the Planning Commission added abatement


language that would require the removal of any structures that could be


seen from Snoqualmie Falls at the owner's expense.


Another condition was modified to require training for all


development and construction workers engaged in activities that involve soil


disturbances on the site. The program would explain the potential for discovery


of historical sites and appropriate action in case of artifact discovery.


Training would be provided by the State Historic Preservation Officer or by a


designated archeologist.


According to Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust officials, the


non-profit group will continue to work with PWI and state agencies to


negotiate purchase of at least a portion of the site, despite the recommendation


to approve the development. Boyd confirmed that PWI intends to


continue discussions with interested parties.


Although the Falls Crossing Mixed-Use application was not


yet docketed at press time, city officials said the review is likely to be


included on the agenda for the Sept. 25, City Council meeting.

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