Snoqualmie Ridge road extension denied
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:50 PM
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
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."