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Falls Crossing report released
On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the City of Snoqualmie Planning and Parks
Department released its staff report on the proposed mixed-use final plan for
the Falls Crossing development.
Under the plan submitted by Puget Western Inc., roughly 182 acres
of land bordered by SR 202, Snoqualmie Parkway and the Snoqualmie
River will come under development for the creation of Falls Crossing. The
project, which was last tabled in April, has been under the proposal, review
and revision process for several years. The current proposal dates to the
Mixed-Use application of July 1998 and includes changes from two earlier
The report, at 136 pages, is substantial. According to
Snoqualmie City Director of Planning and Parks Planner, its volume and detail are
directed by existing mixed-use regulations, which cover a wide range
of planning items and concerns. Using this report and input from public
hearings, the Snoqualmie Planning Commission will formulate a
recommendation on the future of the project for the City Council.
Puget Western submitted its original mixed-use proposal for the
property in 1992. It has gone through several permutations over the
intervening years. In February 1996, the commission recommended denial of
the mixed-use application and - in accordance with the developer's request
- the proposal remained with the commission and city staff for
additional work, instead of going to the council. Planning and Parks released its
Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on Falls Crossing last April.
As submitted, the development will include a mix of residential,
retail and office structures, along with parks, trails and public use and
open space. The total number of homes could include up to 340
single-family houses, 30 to 40 multi-family dwellings, plus low-income additional
accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are second-story housing units
above retail or office property. The application indicated the homes could
range in price up to $400,000.
The project would also include a maximum of 215,000 square feet
of commercial use, including the 55,000-75,000-square-foot Village
Retail complex at the intersection of SR 202 and Snoqualmie Parkway, and
approximately 70,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space.
Areas that have caused concern and opposition in the path are
reiterated in the report, although discussion on the impact of Falls Crossing -
in terms of traffic, city services, buffers, the environment and viewshed -
will undoubtedly continue through the public hearing process.
On two specific points, the report states that " ... existing forested
hillsides at the site will be almost entirely cleared for roads and residential
development ... (which) will essentially eliminate the wildlife habitat of
the developed portion of the site."
In addition, the staff stated " ... the undeveloped character of the site
will be changed to a developed urban community. The developed portion of
the site will be directly across the Snoqualmie River from the
Salish Lodge and the Snoqualmie Falls Observation Deck."
Much of the earlier controversy and opposition to the project
stemmed from the impact of development on the view from the Lodge and Falls
area. Partly in response to earlier development proposals, the city
of Snoqualmie enacted ordinance No. 685, the Snoqualmie Falls
The report provides recommendations on structural height
limitations and the creation of buffer areas and forested greenbelts. It also
re-emphasizes concerns about traffic and local sewer and water services, among
Concerning the Village Retail area, the proposal states future
commercial tenants will include shops centering around the tourist trade,
recreational activities and the arts. The staff
recommends Puget Western be held to that understanding, adding
proposed commercial development on the Parkway does not make allowances
for strip mall-type development.
All in all, the report is a large publication addressing a major issue.
According to Tucker, the next step will be the public hearings on Falls
Crossing before the Planning Commission. They are scheduled for Monday,
Oct. 25, and Tuesday, Oct. 26. The commission will then make its
recommendation to council, selecting between outright approval, approval with
additional conditions - which must be specified by the planning group -
Copies of the staff report are available at the Snoqualmie Library
and city offices for public review. Tucker added some additional copies may
be available for purchase. Interested parties should check with Rhonda
Montgomery or Gwyn Daigler.