Evan Pappas/Staff Photos The Snoqualmie city council chambers were packed on Monday, July 24, for the first presentation of the Snoqualmie Hills West annexation and development project.

Snoqualmie citizens say senior housing is needed, but not through annexation

Snoqualmie citizens gave their feedback on a proposed annexation of the Snoqualmie Hills West area and potential 800-unit senior housing development at the July 24 Snoqualmie City Council meeting.

It was the first opportunity for public comment since Snoqualmie Heights Partners submitted a June 22 letter of intent to request the city to annex a 260-acre property, behind the Woody Creek neighborhood, and it was extremely well-attended.

Council chambers were packed with people wanting to comment on the project and many of the initial comments were in support of it, pointing out the need for senior housing and assisted living options in Snoqualmie, so seniors are not forced out of the Valley just to find an affordable living space that meets their needs.

Snoqualmie resident Duane Johnson spoke about the need for housing designed for seniors.

“I urge you to support more senior housing options in Snoqualmie including the Snoqualmie Hills West Annexation Area. We have a significant unmet need for housing designed for our aging residents. For the last 10 years many residents had to leave the valley because they reached an age or had a disability that required a single-story home or master on the main. Eventually all 13,000 of us in Snoqualmie will be included in this demographic,” Johnson said.

“The economics of home buildings encourage the building of large homes with many upstairs bedrooms. That means young families move in and when the kids are out of the house, they start looking elsewhere and another young family moves in. Some may want to leave but for all of us who love this city and want to stay, we just don’t have an option — many of the 55-plus communities in the region are more than an hour’s drive from Snoqualmie.”

While several others echoed Johnson’s points, there were also many who spoke in opposition to the annexation. They said the development does not outline any affordable housing and cited the problems another development could create in regard to traffic, water availability, and compromising on the rural characteristics of the Valley.

Others pointed out the voting trends of older demographics, which tend to oppose school bonds.

Ed Triou, a resident in the Snoqualmie Hills West Area, spoke against the annexation stating that he didn’t want a road through his property and besides, the development would not provide any actual benefits to seniors in the area.

“This plan I really struggle with because if it was really about seniors I would expect to see affordable housing and that is not in the plan that I‘m seeing. If it was really about seniors I would expect to see assisted living but I’m not seeing assisted living. I’m seeing $400,000 to $500,000 homes for 55 years and older, primarily because there is an incentive that they don’t have to pay for traffic, they don’t have to pay for schools. They can get away by throwing us a pool for the YMCA as opposed to really investing in this town,” Triou said.

“They are not bringing in clienteles that would vote for our schools or that would fund our schools, and they are really not benefiting our seniors, I’m not seeing it in the plan…. This isn’t the first developer that wants to build a road through my land and I don’t think this is the last developer. So I would encourage the city to actually wait for a developer that is willing to actually invest in this town.”

The city has a 60-day window to respond to the letter of intent from Snoqualmie Heights Partners, with a notice of acceptance, rejection or proposing a modification to the request. The city of Snoqualmie has set multiple meeting dates for Snoqualmie Heights Partners to present their project and answer questions, as well as allow the citizens of Snoqualmie to make public comment on the project.

In addition to the July 24 meeting, the Snoqualmie City Council met Monday July 31 to continue taking public input. A final public comment meeting is scheduled for the Aug. 14 council meeting, 7 p.m. at Snoqualmie City Hall.

All comments and letters submitted to the city on this project are available on the city’s website at http://bit.ly/SHPAnnexation.

For additional information or questions about the annexation, contact Community Development Director Mark Hofman at mhofman@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us.

A representative of Snoqualmie Heights Partners gives an overview of some of the benefits the development will bring to the city. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photos)

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