A concept rendering of what the Salish expansion might look like from above. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

A concept rendering of what the Salish expansion might look like from above. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

Salish expansion hearing draws criticism, support

Snoqualmie’s Planning Commission heard comments from several members of the public on the master plan

On July 16, Snoqualmie’s Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Salish Expansion’s Master Plan that was submitted to the city in April.

The public hearing was led and moderated by Hearing Examiner Mark Scheibmeir, who explained that the Planning Commission had six aspects to consider while reviewing the plan and taking public comment: The suitability of the site for the proposed development, whether the requirements for the subdivision code have been met, if adverse environmental impacts have been mitigated, whether the development is in compliance with city statutes, what time limits are imposed on development, and if the development is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Snoqualmie’s Community Development Director Mark Hofman gave an overview of the history of the project before the applicants, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, presented the Master Plan and explained several of the details behind the design.

The Salish expansion will be a multi-phase project that adds additional hotel and meeting space, with several additional amenities. Ron Mitchell, an architect from the firm MG2, said that the total size of the site is 49.6 acres, which includes all phases of development and the northern area intended for residential development. The hotel site, he said will be 21.4 acres and that the open space requirement for the development is 13.7 acres.

The hotel would consist of 182 rooms and flexible event space. With the project broken up into phases, Mitchell explained that the entryway and parking would be one of the first aspects to receive work. The current upper parking lot at the Salish Lodge would be replaced with open space and a pedestrian path. Another lower parking lot would be added so there would be no loss of parking for the city.

“We’ll have 90 plus hotel rooms in four stories in phase one, we have an event space in one story with meeting rooms and a ballroom,” he said. “Phase two will be the spa, and phase three will be the next 90 guest rooms.”

The Planning Commission then opened up the hearing for comments from the public. Michael Ross, Snoqualmie Tribal Council Member, spoke about the concerns the tribe has regarding the project, stating that the plan requires various technical updates to ensure it does not adversely affect the Snoqualmie Falls and the surrounding area. He also stated that the tribe believes their religious practice will be diminished by this development in the vicinity of the falls.

He also stated that the plan does not acknowledge its proximity to the Traditional Cultural Property designation of the Snoqualmie Falls and its impact on the religious practice of the Snoqualmie Tribe.

“The project will replace the sacred and pristine nature of the Snoqualmie falls with an ever more crowded and noisy commercialized tourist attraction which will be impermissibly burden the Snoqualmie tribal members free exercise of religion,” Ross said. “Enhanced public access must not come at the expense of the tribes constitutionally protected rights.”

Ross also cited the Soils, Groundwater and Geological Hazard Report that is 16 years old. He also brought up the Wetland and Wildlife Assessment and the Salish Water Quality Analysis that are 17 years old. He asked the Planning Commission to require that these reports be redone to account for the modern state of the site.

Four other public comments were heard in support of the project. Tom Clark of Compass Outdoor Adventure, Gary Skiba of No Boat Brewing Company, and Mike Seal of Sigillo Cellars spoke to the commission about their support of the project as it will bring in more tourism that will improve activity at local businesses around the city.

Tom Sroufe of Snoqualmie Mill Ventures also gave public comment, stating that being able to retain visitors in the city would be very beneficial for the local economy.

Terry Danish, an attorney representing the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, also had a chance to respond to some of the comments made. In reference to the older reports brought up by Ross, Danish said that the age was irrelevant for the purpose of the discussion because the reports were determined to still be valid and there was no reason to do any updating. He also mentioned that had done a recent traffic analysis update in 2015 as well.

The next steps for the Planning Commission is to make a recommendation regarding the approval of the Salish Expansion Master Plan to the city council. The Planning Commission scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, July 25 to make the determination, which is after the Valley Record deadline for this issue.

The full video archive of the public hearing can be found on the city of Snoqualmie’s official YouTube channel. More information on the project can be found on the city’s website under the Smart Growth tab labeled “Projects – Development.”

The three phases of the Salish expansion development segmented by color. Between phases one and three there will be 182 hotel rooms. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

The three phases of the Salish expansion development segmented by color. Between phases one and three there will be 182 hotel rooms. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

More in News

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, activists fight youth incarceration in King County

No New Youth Jail Coalition members send Valentines to King County officials asking them to reconsider funding priorities

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Captain Ron Mead, commander of the Washington State Patrol in King County, directs traffic on the top of Snoqualmie Pass. Photo courtesy of Trooper Rick Johnson.
Convoy leads Snoqualmie travelers to safety

Immense snowfall led to dicey conditions on the pass.

Courtesy photo
                                New Friends of Youth CEO, Paul Lwali, will replace Terry Pottmeyer.
Friends of Youth hires new CEO

Pottmeyer steps down; Lwali becomes new Friends of Youth CEO.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
New teen campaign, DREAM BIG, kicked off Friday

Russell Wilson and Ciara were on hand to unveil limited edition library cards featuring the duo.

Bothell police recruits Amanda Rees and Dan Wiseman. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo
Police chiefs: More than a year to find, train new officers

HB1253 requires new hires complete basic training requirements within two months.

River stabilization project begins planning phase

The city of Snoqualmie has partnered with King County to install 400 feet of riverbank stabilization

Most Read