[This article has been updated to reflect the motions of the Snoqualmie Planning commission, as reflected in their February 9th meeting minutes.]
The City of Snoqualmie will hold another public hearing about a potential hotel/retail development proposed for the corner of Center Street and Snoqualmie Parkway, across from Chase Bank.
In order for the developer to submit applications and move forward with the proposed project, the City Council must consider [and approve] amendments to the Snoqualmie Ridge Mixed Use Final Plan, Snoqualmie Ridge Development Standards, and Business Park Binding Site Improvement Plan.
That public hearing happens on March 13th at 7PM at the Snoqualmie City Council meeting, 38624 SE River Street.
Some of the needed amendments address adding vehicle turn-in/turn-out access to the hotel from Snoqualmie Parkway, reducing building setback requirements to 15 feet, allowing up to a 5-story building [not to exceed 60 feet]. Access full list of the amendments, traffic study, staff reports, HERE.
Starting in December, the City of Snoqualmie Planning Commission provided feedback on design plans submitted by the developer working with the Hilton Group to bring a 4 and 5-story (taller on lower portion of property), 97-room Hampton Inn & Suites to Snoqualmie Ridge. [You can read more about the potential hotel/retail development HERE.]
According to written public testimony submitted to the city, residents who are opposed to the hotel expressed concerns about the reduced setback from Snoqualmie Parkway – from 50 feet to 15 feet – and are also concerned a hotel will change the small town feel of Snoqualmie.
Senior City Planner Ben Swanson said the decreased setback is needed due to a PSE power line easement on the 5.5 acres land parcel proposed for the project. He explained the strict easement makes about 50% of the parcel unbuildable, requiring the hotel be on located at the back of the site, close to Snoqualmie Parkway.
In response, the Planning Commission requested higher design standards for the back of the hotel that could potentially ‘front’ Snoqualmie Parkway – requesting it have design features similar to the front of the hotel. They also asked for better pedestrian access to the hotel so patrons had integrated walking access to nearby retail areas.
According to an earlier press release, the city is supportive of adding a hotel, stating, “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.”
Bringing a hotel to Snoqualmie is also identified in the city’s Comprehensive Plan. It is not yet clear if the city council will take action on the needed amendments at their March 13th meeting that follows the public hearing.
According to City of Snoqualmie Community Development Director Mark Hofman, the Planning Commision’s official recommendation to the city council is that they take action on the developer’s requested amendments on April 9th.
The February 9th Planning Commission meeting minutes indicate members passed a motion keeping the 50 foot buffer intact on the the land parcel, approved the right-in/right-out driveway, and denied the condition adding ‘hotel’ as a permitted use within the Business Park. A motion to add a definition of ‘hotel’ landed in a tie. Four of the seven commission members were present at the meeting.
Hofman said the city council will consider the Planning Commission recommendation in their review and action on March 13th, but “their action is their own as elected officials.” He explained that the commission’s recommendation is only for [coundil] consideration – “not binding, but worthy of consideration.”