Opinion

Council should be cautious on annexations

The fastest growing city in the state is adding more area to its stack of chips. While Snoqualmie's Planning Commission and City Council wrestle with the prospect of another retail area on the Ridge and concerns about the changing face of Snoqualmie, areas are being annexed to allow more homes.

My question is this: Shouldn't we wait until we see the full impact of Phase II of Snoqualmie Ridge before we allow additional expansion? We are already changing the "plan" for Snoqualmie by contemplating more retail because of concerns about the tax base. So who is to say that the current zoning for the urban growth areas isn't just fine for the next 20 years? Do we really need to annex these areas now?

Past councils and planning commissions have wrestled with each change but now it seems that any time a developer asks for something, they get it unanimously. Maybe all the angles have been discussed and current residents of the city have been consulted to see what their changes would bring.

How about this idea? Let's ask a question at the next all-city meeting that has to do with adding more acreage to the city limits. I am guessing you would find that most residents prefer we wait until we see the impacts of current available growth.

There are also grumblings that some members of the Planning Commission may have personal stakes in areas up for annexation. Even if those members recuse themselves from the voting, the perception from some residents is a bias toward the petitioner. I'm not sure having any developer on the Planning Commission who could directly or indirectly benefit from any actions the commission takes is a good thing.

Let's really make sure that future annexation discussions, as well as development proposals, get the full wrath of scrutiny before a stamp of approval. Maybe we have to go the extra mile, because the city is growing so fast, to get more people involved in the process.

Snoqualmie doesn't have to grow any more than is currently planned for many years. It's important that the process of allowing growth is unbiased, fair and allows input from all sides. Growth can be beneficial to the city, but at the rate we are growing we have the time to ask tough questions about impacts.

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