Council vote clears way for drive-throughs in south part of Ridge

Snoqualmie Ridge could get its first drive-through restaurant under new development rules approved Monday, June 8, by the Snoqualmie City Council.

Following a lengthy discussion and a 6-1 vote, council members approved a resolution on permitted uses in parcel S-21 on the Ridge, the future home of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital.

The hospital is expected to purchase about seven acres of the roughly 15-acre parcel this summer from owners Quadrant and Murray Franklin, leaving about six acres for development. Discussed at Monday's meeting was the possibility of a hotel, medical offices and pharmacy on the site.

But councilman Jeff MacNichols drew the line at a drive-through restaurant on the property, expressing doubts that a drive-through restaurant fits in with the city aesthetic on the Ridge.

"I'd rather have a business that serves the city aesthetically, has an appealing gateway," he said. "Once we open the uses, we can't close them."

His was the sole dissenting vote.

Currently, the only drive-through establishments in the city are two coffee kiosks downtown.

Dave Dorothy, Quadrant's general manager of Snoqualmie Ridge, said the hospital is expected to act as an anchor for the site, bringing in more retail.

"I ask the council not to put us in more of a box," Dorothy said. "We just don't want to be hamstrung."

A drive-through restaurant, he added, is probably a better sales and tax generator for the city than a sit-down establishment, he added.

Speaking in favor of the resolution, councilwoman Kathi Prewitt said she didn't want to hamper the development of a hotel by forbidding a restaurant, while councilman Charles Peterson expressed his support for the hospital.

"If we're going to get a hospital built in the Valley, I think we need to move forward with what is on this list."

Councilwoman Maria Henriksen said the city could use its standards to ensure businesses are "tasteful" on S-15. Councilman Bob Jeans noted that the 'Welcome to Snoqualmie' sign is just uphill from the site. The real gateway to the city, he said, is view across the Valley from the Ridge.

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital CEO Rodger McCollum said the hospital expects to close on its 7.5 acre site by mid-July and break ground by spring.

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