A developer group Snoqualmie Heights Partners plans to petition the city to annex the 260-acre Snoqualmie Hills West area within the city’s Urban Growth Area in order to develop an 800-home, age restricted, 55-and-older, master planned community.
The group submitted its official notice of intent to request the city annex the area on Thursday, June 22. The city has 60 days to hold a public meeting to discuss the merits of the project and would make a preliminary decision to accept, reject, or geographically modify the proposed annexation area.
If the council agrees to let the group pursue annexation, Snoqualmie Heights Partners will begin work on a pre-annexation agreement and an annexation implementation plan.
“If we assume they say yes, then that kicks off the whole process of the annexation implementation plan,” said Chip McBroom, Snoqualmie Heights Partners representative. Another vote of the council would be required to formally add the land to the city limits.
The Snoqualmie Hills West area sits behind the Woody Creek neighborhood on the Snoqualmie Ridge at the intersection of Fisher Avenue SE and Snoqualmie Parkway. McBroom said an annexation of the area would bring in approximately 260 acres of land into the city for the project.
The twist that makes this development different, McBroom said, is that the entire residential area would be for people age 55 and older only, in perpetuity. The project will begin to meet the need for senior housing outlined in the city’s Comprehensive Plan “Snoqualmie 2032” which was last updated in 2014.
“There is such a niche in King County because as our population ages, these folks don’t necessarily want to move to Olympia or Pierce County, their kids, grandkids all live here,” McBroom said. “That is specifically noted in the city’s comprehensive plan, this area they would like to see senior housing and that is exactly what the developer group is looking at based on conversations with the city.”
Before filing their notice of intent to petition for annexation, Snoqualmie Heights Partners reached out to the area’s other property owners and worked with them to sign on to the land use proposal. Unlike Snoqualmie Ridge Phases 1 and 2 which had a single owner, the Snoqualmie Hills West area consists of about 30 different land owners, McBroom said.
“Our goal was to make sure we got to at least 60 percent of all of the land owners signed up, to make sure we could get to annexation under our plan, which we did,” he said.
Since last August, McBroom and Snoqualmie Height Partners have met with the Snoqualmie Ridge Home Owners Association, city staff and council members including the mayor, and other stakeholder groups to determine what they want to see from this project and how it can fit into the proposed uses described in the comprehensive plan.
McBroom described some of the topics discussed including a connection to the Snoqualmie Parkway through the Woody Creek neighborhood and possibly installing a traffic light at the intersection of Fisher Avenue SE and Snoqualmie Parkway. He also discussed a connection to SE 80th Street to create a connection to the historic downtown businesses.
“This is completely conceptual, our best guess with months of meetings, with city staff, city council, the mayor, stakeholder groups, trying to get this as closely aligned with the comprehensive plan and their road system for egress and ingress,” he said. “We are trying to be proactive in what we think might be an issue or a problem, maybe even adding a traffic light in those areas might be required.”
The area is broken up into two parts. Most of the land will be a large residential site with a small section zoned for commercial use. McBroom said the plans for the commercial area are also conceptual but suggested many types of use from corporate business park, to assisted living senior housing and possibly some retail could be developed.
The developer already has plans for an extensive traffic study and said that the adult community restriction will most likely not add too much to overall city traffic because that demographic is more likely to be retired and won’t have to commute outside of the city.
This process is not expected to be quickly implemented, McBroom said. The proposed timeline by Snoqualmie Heights Partners plans for the pre-annexation agreement and annexation implementation plan to be done in 2017. The annexation is planned for 2018 with environmental reviews, engineering approvals and development of a final land use plan through 2021. The build out of the project is projected from 2021 to 2030.
“It’s four or five years from today of planning to get to building the first house,” he said. “It’s a long process.”