Will the rural areas in King County remain rural areas, or will they
inexorably transform to suburban estates and bedroom communities?
This question is at the heart of considerations before the city of
Snoqualmie’s planning commission. It is also one
of the key considerations in the proposed changes to the King County
Comprehensive Plan, and in the current round of hearings on Port Blakely’s
massive Treemont development proposal.
Does the answer affect you? Undoubtedly. Is there anything you
can do? Yes.
Snoqualmie’s planning commission is reviewing Puget Western’s
proposal to build “more than 400 single-family, apartments and
townhouses, up to 160,000 square feet of retail
and another 100,000 square feet of office space” and
possibly sports facilities, parks and more just upstream from
The development would grow on both sides of the Parkway where
it meets S.R. 202. Parts of it may be visible from the Falls. Currently,
some of the property is cleared; much is wooded.
“Didn’t this get turned down?” we Lower Valley folks ask. Yes, twice,
but Puget Western keeps tweaking the project, and this time around is
doing all it can to get approval as quickly as possible.
Why should we care, down here in Fall City? Say, how do you like
the traffic these days? Traffic is easy to see, but don’t forget
development’s impact on things like the area’s
hydrology, habitat for wild creatures and other rural folks, increases in
flooding, loss of “rural character,” just
to name a few. Many of these concerns aren’t really subject to
meaningful mitigation, despite the developer’s rhetoric.
What happens in Snoqualmie does affect us. This is clear. We in the
Lower Valley need to help Snoqualmie feel part of the Big Picture, the picture
that includes us here in Fall City. We must ask Snoqualmie to examine
Puget Western’s proposal in light of the infrastructure and the environment of
the Valley as a whole. We must add our voice to the many, many wise
citizens of Snoqualmie who oppose Falls Crossing.
For those who missed last week’s public hearing at SMS, this week
presents a brief window of opportunity to send comment about Falls
Crossing to the Snoqualmie Planning Commission members, c/o City
of Snoqualmie, 8020 Railroad Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie, WA 98065. I urge you
to send a written message, now.
If you missed the meeting on Nov. 8 at Tolt Middle School where
citizens could learn about and comment on the Public Review Draft of the
King County Comprehensive Plan, you can still comment. Copies of the
proposed changes are available for review on the county Web site,
www.metrokc.gov/exec/orpp/compplan, and at the library.
The proposed Rural Growth Target puts fear in the hearts of
developers, since a subdivision cap could target activity by larger landholders.
This and other proposed policies, such as reducing rural capacity to handle
the region’s growth, could work to maintain rural character, preserve
habitat, minimize the need for additional infrastructure and make sure the
rural areas don’t soak up growth intended for urban areas.
Let your voice be heard. Be part of the process. Look at the Big
Picture, think about the future, and what would be “the right thing,” the
legacy you’d be proud to leave.
We are definitely feeling the squeeze of Big Money and the
push of forces outside the community. Our surroundings may turn into
bedroom communities with hundreds of new homes sprawling over the hillsides
if Weyerhaeuser, Puget Western and Port Blakely continue unchecked.
They have money, power, large holdings and big plans. We have a community
that is unique, and, at this point, still ours. We cannot afford to squabble
among ourselves while the Big Guys urbanize the forests and mitigate our
rural area out of existence.
This paper has carried excellent news which included information
on the perils of Treemont (October 14 front page story) and very
informative editorials on Puget Western’s inappropriate Fall’s Crossing proposal.
Read the news. Then follow up with letters, phone calls, ask questions, attend
hearings. You are important and you make a difference. Each and every one
News Notes items may be
submitted to Janna Treisman
at Box 1329, Fall City, WA 98024; or phone (425) 222-5594 or