Opinion

Respect for Commission

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor two weeks ago in which


a Snoqualmie resident criticizes Snoqualmie Planning


Commission members for their reluctant approval, (with conditions), of the Falls


Crossing project, and implies that personal gain was a factor in their decisions.


I agree with Laurie Baker that there is little benefit to the community as


a whole in this project. It is, in many ways, detrimental to


historic Snoqualmie, detrimental to Snoqualmie Falls as a tourist


attraction, desecrating to a sacred site for the Snoqualmie Tribe.It impacts


wildlife, increases traffic, and it is indeed a travesty to consider this project


on this culturally significant, unique and irreplaceable site. However, the


fact that it is simply a bad idea has, unfortunately, little relevance at this


point in the planning process.


The Falls Crossing property was zoned for commercial


development many years ago, long before Snoqualmie Ridge was even


considered, at a time when the idea of the city growing along SR202 to the


Falls seemed a reasonable plan. In retrospect, particularly in the context of


our current Snoqualmie Ridge growth boom, this was a poor planning


decision. The present Planning Commission has been in the unenviable


position of balancing the legal property rights of a landowner/ taxpayer


who finally wishes to develop the property in accordance with the applicable


zoning, with the needs of the present day community faced with an


unattractive, unpalatable project added to already more than sufficient growth.


I am pleased that we have had the present Planning Commission to


review this project. While I wish their final decision were otherwise, I


have the utmost respect for the individuals involved, and wish to thank them,


and their families, for the tremendous amount of time they have invested


in this project. Each individual has read the voluminous amount of


continually changing proposal drafts, impact statements, draft conditions,


correspondence, citizen comments and specialists' reports, and has attended


multiple weekly meetings. The meetings have often been hostile and


intimidating. The synergy of their thoughtful


deliberation has, at least, resulted in conditions that significantly modify


the project and are legally defensible.


Thank you to Matt Stone for his concern for gateway and viewshed


issues, and steadfast concern for the businesses of downtown


Snoqualmie. Thank you to Carol Fix for her leadership in stimulating discussion,


willingness to ask questions, persistence in requesting satisfactory answers,


historical perspective, concern for wildlife and environmental issues,


and grace under personal attack. Duane Johnson quietly and tenaciously


followed traffic and environmental issues with his own research, when


necessary. Dale Sherman has contributed calm, invariably thoughtful


questions, well researched opinions, and the point of view of a business owner


in historic Snoqualmie. Terry Sorensen brought his broad historical


perspective on city affairs, familiarity with the Comprehensive Plan, and


trademark astute common-sense observations.


The Snoqualmie Planning Commission has worked hard, under


difficult conditions, to make as many modifications as possible to


this project. While I am disappointed with their decision, and will continue


to pursue alternatives to the building of this project, I have sincere respect


for their work. They deserve our thanks, not our criticism.



Mary Norton


Snoqualmie

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