This latest article by Dana McCall in Living Snoqualmie is already stirring up a myriad of mixed emotions from those who live in and around Snoqualmie from the Ridge to Valley. What will the impacts be on local traffic, kids safety, tax revenues for the city, creating a more vibrant community center for Snoqualmie like other areas have experienced or is small town Snoqualmie on the verge of being lost forever? Read Dana's full article below and add your thoughts to the discussion.
If the City of Snoqualmie Planning Commission recommends some changes 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.
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 plank 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.
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 the developer could then move forward with other development requirements and submit for building 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 **