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Casino could benefit neighborhood
Well, the casino project approval is apparently a done deal, and while the gamblers among us are, I'm sure, pleased, the rest of us are left wondering how (if at all) this is going to benefit the community as a whole. Job opportunities? Maybe. Economic spillover to our existing businesses? Perhaps. Forgotten '80s pop groups playing their lame hits on Friday nights? I think any silver linings are going to be few and far between.
Which is why I was pleased to find out that the new sewer line for the project was going to run right down my street (92nd/88th). Here was a chance to feel a bit more positive towards the casino, for helping bring my neighborhood into the 21st century (at least in the area of sewage disposal).
Pleased, that is, until I spoke to Kirk Holmes, public works director for the city of Snoqualmie, and was told that there are no plans to allow residents to connect to the new line and that although the city would own the line, being that the area is unincorporated there are jurisdiction issues and unless the neighborhood is annexed, no hookups will be allowed. I was told that the City Council was "thinking about discussing" the issue. Yeah, it seems to me that the opportunity to finally bring city sewer to numerous homes after 30 or 40 years might warrant a little discussion.
I then called the county and spoke to Bruce Bennett, who works on utility franchise issues (like when a city runs a utility through county property). Basically, he was quite surprised at the city's position. He pointed out that not only does a local municipality have an obligation to provide basic services (like water, sewer and power) when and where available (and I think right outside my front door probably qualifies), but that there are numerous precedents of similar issues throughout the county. So why the city's resistance to what apparently isn't that unusual a situation? Obviously, no one has given it much thought. After all, there's bigger fish to fry up there on the Ridge.
The more obvious issues aside, I would think that with all the concern over bacteria levels in Kimball Creek, the city would want to take every opportunity to help the groundwater quality problem. Because of their size, under today's codes most of the lots in the area would have great difficulty obtaining septic permits. Given that we're all responsible homeowners, I'm sure that everyone's systems are functioning perfectly, but last I checked, water still runs downhill. Providing people the chance to voluntarily help the environment seems pretty civilized to me. What's more, as these homes change hands, some owners would benefit greatly by having city sewer as an option.
All I want is the option to connect, as I'm sure others in the area do, too. As taxpayers, it should be our right. The street is getting ripped up anyway; it just makes sense to allow it. And no sense not to.