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


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