Didn’t this plan get turned down?

A look at life in Fall City through the eyes of a local.

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 Falls.

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

of you.

News Notes items may be

submitted to Janna Treisman

at Box 1329, Fall City, WA 98024; or phone (425) 222-5594 or

e-mail treismaj@hotmail.com.