UPDATE | February 6, 2017
The City of Snoqualmie has confirmed a public hearing about the amendments needed for a proposed hotel development to move forward on Snoqualmie Ridge. It will be held during the February 6th Planning Commission meeting at City Hall, 38624 SE River Street. That meeting begins at 7PM and will also include a presentation about the proposed amendments and design renderings.
** Due to inclement weather, there will also be a continuation of the hearing on another evening. The city hopes that second public hearing opportunity will happen later this week, but will be determined at the Feb. 6th meeting. **
How to Testify:
In summary, there are three options to testify on the proposed hotel:
- Attend the public hearing/presentation tonight February 6th at 7PM
- Attend the continued public hearing/presentation with date to be determined tonight (hopefully in the next week)
- Submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As explained in the original story below, the developer is not able to submit an application until the Planning Commission and the City Council consider amendments to the Snoqualmie Ridge Mixed Use Final Plan, Snoqualmie Ridge Development Standards, and Business Park Binding Site Improvement Plan.
Via press release, the City of Snoqualmie said:
‘The hotel could benefit Snoqualmie in many ways, including creating a significant source of revenue for the city to apply to capital projects, public safety, and services for residents.
It could also attract corporations considering opening or relocating their businesses to vacant lots and buildings in the business park, further increasing revenue sources and supporting economic health.
Visitors to Snoqualmie – including the nearly two million visitors that come to Snoqualmie Falls each year – currently have only one lodging option in Snoqualmie at the Salish Lodge & Spa. Many visitors to Snoqualmie come to Snoqualmie Falls via I-90 and head straight back out of town after visiting Snoqualmie Falls Park, many times not exploring the shops, restaurants, and other attractions throughout town.
With the addition of a second hotel, many of those tourists, as well as those coming to enjoy the Boeing Classic and other activities, can be accommodated, allowing them time to shop and dine to support our local merchants. Residents will also have a lodging option for family and friends visiting from out of town.’
If the City of Snoqualmie Planning Commission recommends some changes, made through amendments to the Snoqualmie Ridge (SR) Business Park Binding site improvement plan and the SR Mixed use plan – AND the city council approves them – next summer there could be a new hotel in Snoqualmie, at the corner of Snoqualmie Parkway and Center Street (across the Parkway from the IGA retail complex). Upper Snoqualmie Valley hotel options are currently limited to the Salish Lodge and some older motels in North Bend.
Next week the Planning Commission will look at the second set of [conceptual] design plans from a developer working with the Hilton Group to bring a 97-room Hampton Inn & Suites to Snoqualmie Ridge. Commission members saw the first designs at their December 22nd meeting where they requested some design modifications.
Required Code Changes for Development to Proceed
The first change required for the project to proceed is to decrease the 50-foot buffer setback to 15 feet for the edge of the property that borders Snoqualmie Parkway. This is needed because approximately 50% of the land parcel has a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) power line easement running through it, limiting the buildable area of the property to this portion near the Parkway. City of Snoqualmie Senior Planner Ben Swanson said PSE restricts buildings in their easements, explaining if transmission line repairs or other work is ever needed, PSE doesn’t want to work around structures.
Because the proposed hotel would essentially front Snoqualmie Parkway, the Planning Commission is requiring front of building design standards for the rear of the property. Swanson said they want the back of the building to look as nice as the front so it fits in with the rest of the retail area. The commission also asked the design be pedestrian-friendly to draw hotel patrons out and into nearby businesses.
The second required change is to add an access lane into the property from Snoqualmie Parkway. This is necessary because property’s current small entrance off Center Street is also located in the PSE easement area, which limits redesigning and grading the entrance. Swanson said the developer has already completed a traffic study, which deemed the access lane acceptable.
Details on Proposed Snoqualmie Ridge Hotel and Retail Development
The four-acre site would house a 75,200 square foot, 97-room hotel complete with a breakfast area, 1,500 sq. ft. meeting room, 800 sq. ft board room and indoor swimming pool. The hotel would be four and five stories, with the five-story portion being on the lower end of the sloped property.
Next door would be a 16,600 sq. ft., two-story retail/office building. Half of the first level space would be for a restaurant/cafe and the rest for other retail. Office space would be on the second level. According to plans, both buildings would have a Northwest style design to “honor the beauty of the nature in the City of Snoqualmie.” The 200 stall parking lot would be located in the PSE easement area.
At the request of the Planning Commission, the developer is incorporating a large outdoor plaza, with seating areas, as gathering space for the community. Swanson said this is something the commission felt the existing retail area lacks. The entrance to the property would also included a water feature.
The portion of the hotel that fronts Snoqualmie Parkway would have a stacked design,with portions of the building jutting in and out (vs. a flat building), to create architectural interest. Potential siding materials include stacked stone and various colors of hardie and long board. There would be pedestrian street/sidewalk access to the property. Although some trees will have to be removed along the Parkway, large existing tree(s) will be kept at the property’s south end.
City of Snoqualmie Director of Community Development Mark Hofman explained, “Commercial development must be a true asset that fulfills community needs. Design guidelines act to create and preserve a sense of place.” He emphasized, “For example, in working for the community, we could not accept a stucco box hotel that looks like it should be along a highway in the desert Southwest. A hotel or any business in Snoqualmie needs to be respectful of residents’ expectations, as this well-designed concept for Parcel 20 of the Business Park does. We try to anticipate and support expectations, and always encourage people to voice their opinions through the public hearings.”
These latest set of designs will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on Tuesday, January 17th at 7PM at City Hall. Planning Commission meetings are open to the public.
It’s anticipated that a Public Hearing on the proposed code changes will be held on February 6th. Residents can attend and comment in person or email comments to the city.
In mid February the commission will likely make a recommendation to the city council about the code changes and agree on a final conceptual design for the project. Swanson anticipated the city council could be asked to approve the code changes and a development agreement in mid March.
With council approval of the code change amendments, the developer could then move forward with other development requirements, like submitting a building applications and permits. Swanson said the developer hopes to begin construction this spring/summer.
** NOTE: All photos in this article are only conceptual design plans f(NOT final) that will be presented to the Planning Commission. Design plans created by Jensen/Fey Architecture and Planning in Redmond, WA **