It’s on your shoulder’s

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:46am
  • Opinion
It's on your shoulder's

Within in the last several weeks, the debate over Falls Crossing has began to draw attention from outside the Valley. Most importantly, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the

Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development have checked in

on the development, and guess what: they aren’t glowing recommendations

for this major project. Surprise. In fact, both departments question the

process which the city and planning commission have used, primarily querying

the lack of discussions with these respective agencies.

The attorney for Falls Crossing has dismissed the input from the

Department of Fish and Wildlife as coming from a “low-level employee.” Her

supervisor has even gone so far as to say the agency shouldn’t have gotten

involved and got suckered by a group of insistent opponents.

Wow … so a group of concerned citizens is suckering state officials.

Hmmm, something doesn’t seem right, and as I have said before, it’s not uncommon

for a state agency to forget they work for those “insistent” opponents.

So, were the remarks by Snoqualmie River Watershed Area Habitat

Biologist Carol Bordin out of place? How recent were the habitat studies

developed and are they still applicable to the latest FEIS? Why shouldn’t a state agency

be involved in the planning process? In fact, why not bring in all the experts

from various agencies to make sure the project is right for the topography and

habitat it will impact?

Even if the letter were flawed, it can’t be completely dismissed in that

there are still questions, albeit based upon old information, that need to be

addressed. So the planning commission should take the initiative to involve the

Department of Fish and Wildlife and get a current reading from them. What can

it hurt, other than taking a little more time?

The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development

raises concerns about the Snoqualmie Falls viewshed and Snoqualmie tribal

implications. There is a potential that the Falls property could be designated as a

National Historic Landmark, having “exceptional value to the nation.” Won’t it

be great for people to look down the river and see a retail center?

So in whose hands is the decision currently? Well, the planning

commission is attempting to formulate their recommendation for the city council,

and chances are Puget Western will sue if the project is denied one more time.

But I hope that the city and planning commission don’t bow to the threat of

lawsuit, because if it happens once, you can bet that every other developer will

use the lawsuit approach.

It’s not that I am against responsible development that is beneficial to

the Valley as a whole, but I’m not sure that the proponents of Falls Crossing

have proven to all that this project is beneficial to the Upper Valley and won’t

take away from Snoqualmie’s character.

So, it’s in the hands of the planning commission, Matt Stone, Carol

Fix, Betty Harris, Duane Johnson, Steve Mounsey, Dale Sherman and

Terry Sorenson. These are the folks who hold the key to Snoqualmie’s future.

Let’s hope they are willing to take the concerns of at least two state agencies to

heart and take their time in making the right decision.

Let these people know your feelings in the next few weeks. Their

phone numbers can be obtained from city hall. Despite the closing of public

comment, these folks must listen to their constituents and take it into consideration.

Jim McKiernan


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