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WRECO calls for Phase II

Three weeks ago, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (WRECO)

approached King County with a formal request to expand Snoqualmie's

Urban Growth Area (UGA). Such an expansion would allow the

company to start work on its planned Phase II development of Snoqualmie Ridge.

Notably, the request for a modification to the county's 20-year

comprehensive plan went in on Wednesday, Sept. 30, the last day such

requests were authorized.

Representatives of the City of Snoqualmie immediately

responded, notifying the county it was against such a modification. The city also

requested the continuation of the community's existing growth

boundaries.

Snoqualmie approved development of the 1,342-acre,

2,000-home project on the ridge in 1995. Since

that time, the massive project has seen the completion of 300-plus homes,

the first structures of a business/light industrial park, and a new golf

course with clubhouse.

Under the existing 20-year growth plan, additional development

cannot occur outside of the city's Urban Growth Boundary, which is

delineated within the comprehensive plan. However, Weyerhaeuser started

commenting in July that it wanted to move ahead with the expansion, hence

the need for a revision to the comprehensive plan. Without the expanded

UGB, Snoqualmie cannot annex the additional 800 acres, and without

annexation, WRECO cannot develop.

According to mayor R. "Fuzzy" Fletcher, the comprehensive plan

and Urban Growth Area are fine as they now exist.

"We have a signed agreement, or interlocal agreement, with

them (WRECO), and it's good through 2010," the mayor commented

Monday. "They have only 300 houses in so far in a planned 2,000-home

development, so they still have some 1,700 homes to build. I don't see what

the rush is."

According to some reports, WRECO is pushing for the early

development of Phase II in order to realize "financial expectations."

However, Weyerhaeuser attorney and spokesperson Lynn Claudon stated

the motivation for the project was of a different nature.

"We built the infrastructure into the first phase of Snoqualmie Ridge,

anticipating eventual completion of the second phase," she commented

Tuesday. "That investment is in the ground, and I don't believe anyone

questions Phase II will happen.

"We do respect the mayor and the folks of the city. They're

going through a lot of changes."

Claudon added that all the company has done is begin the process

of determining how to best proceed with the completion of Snoqualmie Ridge.

"We've done just one action," she stated. "We applied to King

County to move the Urban Growth Area to include that area _ north of

Interstate 90 _ into the city's UGA. That's something that will need to happen

some day. That doesn't mean anything will happen quickly; that application is

just the first step in the process, to begin to talk.

"The rest of the discussion has to be between the City of

Snoqualmie and Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company.

"I'm looking forward to talking with the mayor and the members

of the city council and planning commission over the next several

months," Claudon concluded. "As I said, nothing's happening immediately,

but we need to plan together, as the interlocal agreement calls for."

"I guess I would say, why do you need to have Phase II put into the

UGA if you're not planning on doing something with it?" responded

Mayor Fletcher during a later conversation. "The interlocal _ as I read it _ says

we have to plan. If the interlocal says 2010, we're willing to start

planning two years before. What's the rush?

The mayor said it's his opinion the city doesn't have the population

or infrastructure right now to warrant any more development. Still, he expects

a continual press from Weyerhaeuser over Phase II.

"I've heard that next summer they're planning to petition the city

to annex Phase II," he commented. "I was told that by someone

at Weyerhaeuser.

"If all they're doing is planning, there is no need to rush. We'll try

to get together before the end of the month to talk about this stuff."

Next month the King County Executive will begin holding public

hearings on the proposed updates to the 20-year Comprehensive Plan.

Four meetings are scheduled with the county's officially recognized

Unincorporated Area Councils, on the following dates:

• Thursday, Oct. 28 _ 6 to 8 p.m., Black Diamond Community

Center, 31605 3rd Ave., Black Diamond.

• Monday, Nov. 8, 6 to 8 p.m., Tolt Middle School multi-purpose

room, 3740 Tolt Ave., Carnation.

• Monday, Nov. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., Kent Senior Activity Center, 600

E. Smith St. Kent, and

• Thursday, Nov. 18, 7:30 to 9 p.m., Chatauqua Elementary

School, 9309 Cemetery Rd., Vashon Island.

County Executive Ron Sims is scheduled to attend the latter

three meetings.

In the interim, the public review draft of the updated plan is

available on the county's Web site, at

www.metrokc.gov/exec/orpp/compplan/2000/2000prd.htm.

Copies of the draft are also available at all branches of the King County

Library System; the Office of Regional Policy and Planning at 516 Third

Avenue, Room 420, in Seattle; and at the Department of Development and

Environmental Services at 900 Oakesdale Avenue Southwest, Renton.

The public review process will continue through Jan. 21, 2000,

at which time comments will be incorporated into the final

document. County Executive Ron Sims will then send his recommended

amendments to the King County Council.

On that one final point, both Mayor Fletcher and Claudon

agree. The proposal to revise the Snoqualmie Urban Growth Area may or may

not go before the council in March 2000. If it doesn't, it will definitely be

back the following year.

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