A concept rendering of what the Salish expansion might look like from above. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

A concept rendering of what the Salish expansion might look like from above. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

Salish expansion hearing draws criticism, support

Snoqualmie’s Planning Commission heard comments from several members of the public on the master plan

On July 16, Snoqualmie’s Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Salish Expansion’s Master Plan that was submitted to the city in April.

The public hearing was led and moderated by Hearing Examiner Mark Scheibmeir, who explained that the Planning Commission had six aspects to consider while reviewing the plan and taking public comment: The suitability of the site for the proposed development, whether the requirements for the subdivision code have been met, if adverse environmental impacts have been mitigated, whether the development is in compliance with city statutes, what time limits are imposed on development, and if the development is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Snoqualmie’s Community Development Director Mark Hofman gave an overview of the history of the project before the applicants, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, presented the Master Plan and explained several of the details behind the design.

The Salish expansion will be a multi-phase project that adds additional hotel and meeting space, with several additional amenities. Ron Mitchell, an architect from the firm MG2, said that the total size of the site is 49.6 acres, which includes all phases of development and the northern area intended for residential development. The hotel site, he said will be 21.4 acres and that the open space requirement for the development is 13.7 acres.

The hotel would consist of 182 rooms and flexible event space. With the project broken up into phases, Mitchell explained that the entryway and parking would be one of the first aspects to receive work. The current upper parking lot at the Salish Lodge would be replaced with open space and a pedestrian path. Another lower parking lot would be added so there would be no loss of parking for the city.

“We’ll have 90 plus hotel rooms in four stories in phase one, we have an event space in one story with meeting rooms and a ballroom,” he said. “Phase two will be the spa, and phase three will be the next 90 guest rooms.”

The Planning Commission then opened up the hearing for comments from the public. Michael Ross, Snoqualmie Tribal Council Member, spoke about the concerns the tribe has regarding the project, stating that the plan requires various technical updates to ensure it does not adversely affect the Snoqualmie Falls and the surrounding area. He also stated that the tribe believes their religious practice will be diminished by this development in the vicinity of the falls.

He also stated that the plan does not acknowledge its proximity to the Traditional Cultural Property designation of the Snoqualmie Falls and its impact on the religious practice of the Snoqualmie Tribe.

“The project will replace the sacred and pristine nature of the Snoqualmie falls with an ever more crowded and noisy commercialized tourist attraction which will be impermissibly burden the Snoqualmie tribal members free exercise of religion,” Ross said. “Enhanced public access must not come at the expense of the tribes constitutionally protected rights.”

Ross also cited the Soils, Groundwater and Geological Hazard Report that is 16 years old. He also brought up the Wetland and Wildlife Assessment and the Salish Water Quality Analysis that are 17 years old. He asked the Planning Commission to require that these reports be redone to account for the modern state of the site.

Four other public comments were heard in support of the project. Tom Clark of Compass Outdoor Adventure, Gary Skiba of No Boat Brewing Company, and Mike Seal of Sigillo Cellars spoke to the commission about their support of the project as it will bring in more tourism that will improve activity at local businesses around the city.

Tom Sroufe of Snoqualmie Mill Ventures also gave public comment, stating that being able to retain visitors in the city would be very beneficial for the local economy.

Terry Danish, an attorney representing the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, also had a chance to respond to some of the comments made. In reference to the older reports brought up by Ross, Danish said that the age was irrelevant for the purpose of the discussion because the reports were determined to still be valid and there was no reason to do any updating. He also mentioned that had done a recent traffic analysis update in 2015 as well.

The next steps for the Planning Commission is to make a recommendation regarding the approval of the Salish Expansion Master Plan to the city council. The Planning Commission scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, July 25 to make the determination, which is after the Valley Record deadline for this issue.

The full video archive of the public hearing can be found on the city of Snoqualmie’s official YouTube channel. More information on the project can be found on the city’s website under the Smart Growth tab labeled “Projects – Development.”

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

The three phases of the Salish expansion development segmented by color. Between phases one and three there will be 182 hotel rooms. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

The three phases of the Salish expansion development segmented by color. Between phases one and three there will be 182 hotel rooms. Image courtesy of the city of Snoqualmie

More in News

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Breaking: Outbreak at Regency North Bend as residents, staff contract COVID-19

Two residents have already died in connection with the outbreak, public health officials say.

North Bend City Hall. Courtesy of northbendwa.gov
North Bend passes on property tax increase

The North Bend City Council narrowly voted not to increase the amount… Continue reading

David Olson. Contributed photo
The Valley loses one of its biggest hearts

David Olson died in early November, but his legacy of dedicated community service lives on.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

Chris Fagan trekking across Antarctica in 2014. Contributed by Chris Fagan
South Pole or Bust

The story of a North Bend couple who trekked across Antarctica.

A map of the SR 203 closure beginning on Nov. 30 and lasting until mid-January 2021. Contributed by the Washington State Department of Transportation
SR 203 closure begins Nov. 30

State route 203 between Carnation and Duvall will be closed until mid-January,… Continue reading

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Council passes $12.59 billion biennial budget

King County Council on Nov. 17 passed a $12.59 billion biennial budget… Continue reading

Most Read