According to Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, it is customary to end Snoqualmie Valley Governments Association Dinners with respective mayors giving brief reports about what’s going on in their communities.
At the November dinner, hosted by the Snoqualmie Tribe in the Snoqualmie Casino’s Terra Vista Restaurant, Snoqulamie Tribe Administrator, Matt Mattson, dropped a surprise when he told the group of Valley leaders of the Tribe’s plans to build a 20-story hotel adjacent its casino on the rural Snoqualmie Valley hillside.
Mayor Larson says city officials have known for several year that the Snoqualmie Tribe intended to build a hotel by the casino, which is the largest employer in the valley. What the mayor says they never anticipated was that the hotel would be “a 20- story highrise up on a hill.” Larson added that “Such a structure would be grossly out of character in the Valley.”
The Snoqualmie Tribe has not yet made a formal announcement of their plans, but given that Mattson stated during his meeting report that the intent was to begin construction this coming summer, it appears the plan is beyond the preliminary stages.
According to a Seattle Times story on the topic, the proposal “calls for a new 340-room hotel, conference center, larger casino and theater, and two new parking structures, with construction beginning as soon as next summer.”
One complicating factor in any planned casino expansion could be sewer services. The City of Snoqualmie currently provides the sewer service for the casino, which would need a significant sewer capacity increase to build the new hotel and expand the casino. Mayor Larson says that sewer capacity increase is equivalent to approximately 530 residential homes.
The City of Snoqualmie anticipates strong opposition to the 20-story hotel from within the community. The mayor said he also anticipates additional “strong opposition to the city playing any role that helps facilitate construction of such a structure.”
Snoqualmie’s leverage to encourage a “less impactful” hotel design could be limited, though, because although the Snoqualmie Tribe does contract with the city for firefighting and sewers services, it could choose to build its own sewer treatment facility on-site. Such a move would be costly, though, according to Mayor Larson.
There is also a height restriction of 5-stories on buildings within the City of Snoqualmie, but the casino sits just outside those limits in addition to the Snoqualmie Tribe making its own land-use decisions because it is a sovereign nation.
A city spoke spokesperson says the City of Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Tribe will be discussing this and other issues of concern.
Only time will tell the direction the Snoqualmie Tribe takes with its hotel expansion. Can a 20-story hotel be placed on a rural hillside and fit in with the landscape? The Snoqualmie Valley community will likely be weighing in on these future plans in the months ahead.
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