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Snoqualmie Ridge road extension denied

SNOQUALMIE — At the end of an emotionally charged workshop

last Wednesday, Snoqualmie City Councilmembers denied an

application to extend Southeast Douglas Street.

The 50-foot extension would connect Snoqualmie Parkway to a

proposed subdivision called Cascade View, located east of the

Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park.

Snoqualmie 55 Associates, a group of developers who own land in

the subdivision, had requested the joint workshop between the council

and Snoqualmie's planning commission.

The property is currently zoned Urban Reserve (UR) and is located

in unincorporated King County, but could eventually be annexed to the

city of Snoqualmie. The land is deemed an "urban growth planning area,"

designed to incorporate future growth. Snoqualmie 55's subdivision

would consist of 12 one-acre residential lots and six reserve tracts.

Public involvement was required by the city's Comprehensive Plan

because the road would extend from within city limits into

unincorporated King County.

Neighbors adjacent to Cascade View packed the council

chambers and voiced their concerns about the road itself and the encroaching

development they said the road could bring. Many said that too much

development could ruin the area's rural character.

Deborah Bellam, who lives on 10 acres next to the proposed

development, attended the workshop and said she will suffer the greatest impact

from the road and new houses.

In a letter to councilmembers and the planning commission

Bellam stated, "If one assumes that a new

road is necessary to provide a yet undeveloped area with access to

Snoqualmie Parkway, or with a more direct route to Snoqualmie, the route selected

for a new road should be the one with the least impact on our rural area."

Snoqualmie 55 attorney Sarah Mak disagreed that the road

would cause an impact and said that the extension of Southeast Douglas

Street would only be used by the subdivision's limited residents.

According to a report from Snoqualmie's department of planning and parks,

the road would be extended into the proposed subdivision and would end

in two cul-de-sacs.

But residents did not seem concerned with where the road would

end, and instead focused on opposing the city's approval of the road extension.

Other reasons neighbors listed for opposing the road extension

included the partial destruction of a buffer that would occur during road

construction, the unknown impacts to wetlands and nearby "D" Creek, water runoff

and traffic.

The residents contended that no alternative roads were planned and

the public has seen no extensive studies for the project.

Councilmember Colleen Johnson, who gave the motion for denial,

added that the impacts from the road are not clear enough at this point to

approve the request.

She said that Snoqualmie is a special area and that it is critical

for councilmembers to look carefully at any future development, including

the proposed road extension.

"Something needs to be done up there," she said. "But I don't think

we have any answers."

Snoqualmie 55 had originally applied for city annexation in 1995

but the application was rejected the following year. The group was able to

get approval for their subdivision from King County, but the city

of Snoqualmie is still responsible for the approval or denial of the

property's road extension.

Although Snoqualmie 55's request to extend the road was denied by

the 3 to 1 vote last week, Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher said that does

not mean the end for this project. He told the developers they could

re-submit their request or come up with an alternate route for their property.

"I want to take all the time necessary to plan this city correctly, not

rush through and make a bunch of mistakes," he said. "That is exactly

the reason we are having these workshops, to get the ideas of the

citizens and business owners, to shape Snoqualmie correctly."

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