Opinion

Exchange costly to Fall City

I applaud King County for its efforts to decrease the development at the Falls Crossing site through the land swaps included in the Snoqualmie Preservation Initiative. However, I would like to suggest that one part of the planned exchanges should be reconsidered and reversed, or greatly limited in scope.

I am referring to the site owned by Weyerhaeuser, referred to as the Northwest Properties, which is to be annexed into the Snoqualmie Urban Growth Area. This 209-acre parcel extends from the northern boundaries of present Lake Alice properties and will border the east side of upper Lake Alice Road. Development of 339 housing units is projected for this area.

It feels particularly frustrating to Fall City residents to hear of this plan, as the community recently went through a year-long subarea planning process in which we renewed our desire to retain the rural character of Fall City, the only unincorporated rural township in King County.

Coming south from Carnation toward Fall City, one can now just see the portion of Snoqualmie Ridge which has been built within 50 feet of northeast Lake Alice properties. Imagine another 339 houses sprawling westward across the hillside. This would be a sad and significant impact on the rural viewshed of Fall City, and the Lower Snoqualmie Valley in general.

An additional concern is the addition of dense development very close to the Snoqualmie River, just named by American Rivers as one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the U.S.

One of the goals of the King County Growth Management Act is the protection and preservation of rural lands. The development of the Northwest Properties does not seem to support that goal. I can see how the decision was made while looking at maps - please come and look at the land. Let's find a way to preserve this precious rural remnant and the river it borders.

Ruth Pickering

Fall City

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