City of Snoqualmie Effort to Gain I-90/SR-18 Land Denied Again, But Development Begins

With the Growth Management Hearings Board upholding King County’s 2012 decision NOT to add 85 acres of land between the edge of Snoqualmie and I-90 to the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA), it looks like land owners are beginning to move forward.

Those 85 acres have been in contention for years, with the county wanting the land to remain zoned rural and the City of Snoqualmie wanting it added to its UGA for potential retail/business development.

In 2008, with a hospital planned for the site, the county said no, forcing the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital (SVH) District to change plans and build a new hospital across Snoqualmie Parkway on land already within the city limits.

The City of Snoqualmie tried again in 2012, asking King County to change its Comprehensive Plan, stating it needed the land for retail development to meet the demands of residents.  Once again, the county said no, leaving the land zoned rural, with the future possibility of developing it into 5-acre lots for single family residences.

This summer, the City of Snoqualmie appealed King County’s decision to the Growth Management Hearings Board, but still to no avail.

Since that appeal denial, owners of the land, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District and Puget Western, Inc. (PWI) have begun moving forward with plans for the land parcels.

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District recently moved their Billing and Marketing Departments, as well as the Hospital Foundation, to the former Leisure Time property, which the hospital is now calling its “East Campus.”  The cost-saving move allows SVH to eliminate leased building space in Fall City and Snoqualmie.

Improvements were made to the former Leisure Time building #4, including carpet replacement, paint and other minor repairs.  Jill Green, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Public Information Officer, said other buildings on the property aren’t ready for occupancy so there are no immediate plans to relocate other departments to the new East Campus.

Former Leisure Time building, now owned by Snoqualmie Valley Hospital and part of its new East Campus off SE 99th ST

Former Leisure Time building, now part of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital’s new East Campus on SE 99th ST. Photo: KC Department of Assessments

 

In preparation for winter weather, problem trees on the property, including those diseased, wind-damaged, and ones posing safety risks due to proximity to buildings, are being removed. Green said very little maintenance was done on the property prior to hospital taking possession, so they have a backlog of trees needing attention.

Puget Western, Inc. has also begun logging operations on its land surrounding the hospital’s East Campus, preparing for future residential development.

City of Snoqualmie Planning Director, Nancy Tucker, said Puget Western recently informed the city they were going forward with a timber harvest on their properties near the I-90/SR-18 interchange, with the eventual plan to sell them as large, 5-acre residential lots.

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital is allowing PWI access to their property via the East Campus driveway off Snoqualmie Parkway, as it is the only vehicular access to the 80+ acres of land.

There is no timeframe currently available as to when those future residential lots might be ready for sale.  For now, though, expect to see logging trucks entering and leaving the property near the freeway interchange.

SVHLogging

Beginning of PWI tree harvest adjacent hospital property SE 99th ST driveway.

Comments

  1. Is there still a plan to build an interchange with flyovers and all at 90/18? Seems inevitable with all the traffic.

    • Danna McCall says

      I believe that is a plan – but when I spoke to the Director of SV Hospital, he thought it was years off….

    • There is a lot of recent and encouraging work along SR 18, whether it is the 2007 dedicated eastbound I-90 off-ramp at SR 18 along the Snoqualmie Parkway exit, or the most recent 2013 improvements at the SR 18/I-5 interchange in Federal Way. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is set to complete early environmental and design work for a portion of a new interchange at SR 18/I-90, adjacent to Snoqualmie. Although the 2003 Legislature provided funds to complete the environmental review and preliminary design for the SR 18/I-90 interchange, funding is not secured for construction of this SR 18/I-90 interchange project.

      Please visit WSDOT’s webpage to learn more about this project at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr18/auburntoi90/ihobart_i90/. Our local Snoqualmie resident and State Rep. Jay Rodne is a great contact for people looking to see when funding for this project will be secured, as he is on the Transportation Committee. Also, there will be a transportation town hall meeting hosted by local elected officials on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 10:00am until noon at the Snoqualmie Fire Station, where transportation issues like the SR 18/I-90 interchange can be addressed.

  2. Very pleased Snoqualmie was denied this land and it we be developed as rural 5-acre parcels. I am very frustrated with Nancy Tucker and her kingdom building vision for Snoqualmie. I moved out here to be away from congestion – enough already!

  3. Thank you for posting the informative article. As a resident of Snoqualmie Ridge, I do enjoy the fact that the city has been very strategic about economic development, however, I don’t feel that we have the proper retail resources that families need (Spaces for Teens to hang out, clothing stores, additional family friendly restaurants, etc – Issaquah Highlands seems to have this figured out!) . As a result of the limited retail shopping, a majority of the revenue benefits North Bend and Issaquah. It is time to lift commercial retail restrictions to enable the revenue for Snoqualmie (like Maple Valley and Highlands had previously). This will enable more family time as well since we won’t be commuting and spending our dollars outside the city we want to support economically.

    • I heartily agree! My husband and I are renting right now and are looking to purchase in the spring/summer. We will not be looking in the Snoqualmie Ridge area because despite having shops and a grocery store, the shops are useless boutiques selling unnessary products and the grocery store does not have competitive prices. We are looking to Issaquah.

    • There is plenty of empty space at Ridge Center and across the street at the “business park”. If Nancy Tucker was concerned about retail space, why was the lot at the corner of Snoqualmie Parkway and Swenson rezoned from retail to high density apartments? Because there is no demand for retail. Have you been to Issaquah Plateau lately? Oh – the horror!! But I think this is actually the city’s vision 🙁

  4. Snoqualmie Joe says

    The Ridge Center Street area has plenty of empty storefronts that used to be filled with shoe store, clothing store, a toy store, a gift shop, etc. The problem is that locals didn’t bother shopping there and the high leases! Until that changes, then nothing will. If all you want is chains and box stores then move to Issaquah or elsewhere! I didn’t move to Snoqualmie for that!

    • I don’t know what I want in that area. Actually, if they’d just leave it as trees it would be outstanding. But if it has to be developed… I’m not sure who is going to buy a premium 5 acre residential lot right next to the highway, so it seems the best use would be something like retail or an extension of the business park. I’ve always thought a-park-and-ride near the interchange would be a good location as well.

      My perception (which could be wrong) is that we actually do seem to have a decent amount of retail space still open on Center and maybe down near where the Subway is. However, with rents the way they are there it is difficult to have a competitive store. But how do we not even have a drug store? I think there are basic needs that could be met with a little more variety of retail. Definitely not in favor of things that would attract big crowds like a big box store. With a location near the I90 interchange it could bring in additional customers that our businesses on Center don’t get to help them survive. Our existing places are generally good, but a little competition might be good. I mean $6.25 beers at Fins!? An order of buffalo wings $13?! Hilarious. The Tom Douglas Palace Kitchen in downtown Seattle doesn’t even charge this much!

  5. This is becoming just that…. another horrible Issaquah Highlands.. a disgrace to the PNW..

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