Compared to Snoqualmie Ridge as a whole, Puget Sound Energy’s 20-acre annex for a new power distribution station looks like small potatoes.
But the annex, which is moving forward after a series of votes last week by the Snoqualmie City Council, is poised to change a much larger area. And it’s clear that more awareness is needed community-wide on how both the Ridge and folks who live on and near it will change as a result.
People who live in an urban growth area should never be complacent that city won’t be coming their way. But at the same time, they can’t be faulted for wanting to know what the plans are for their neck of the woods.
In Snoqualmie Hills, where the power station annex is proposed, a thin boundary separates county residents in large, rural lots from the city’s industrial park. Last week’s public hearings on the Snoqualmie Hills annex saw several residents approach the council to ask precisely where the annex was going. Others aired concerns about flooding from new development, and wondered whether the extension paves the way for a controversial back road up to the Ridge ( It doesn’t, at least for now).
It’s no surprise that Puget Sound Energy is building this station outside the bounds of the city — who would want a four-acre power substation humming in their backyard? PSE has been asking to build the station for three years, and has stated several times that it is urgently needed to meet the power needs of the city. But at the same time, the project makes way for more growth, creating a spur leading into the now-rural planning area.
Last Monday’s unanimous city approvals came after a pretty slim discussion on the part of the council. As the annexation moves on, next to the King County Boundary Review Board, let’s hope that the future of the Snoqualmie Hills Planning Area and Douglas Street gets a thorough public airing.
More discussion is needed as this annexation unfolds, so that residents both inside and outside city limits understand when and where the city is growing. The recession won’t last forever. Water, like other substances, flows downhill. The people at the bottom of the hill deserve to know what’s coming.