191-unit Affordable Housing apartment complex proposed in Snoqualmie; July 3rd meeting offers chance to hear presentation

The Snoqualmie Valley lacks affordable housing. The City says a new project would increase housing inventory diversity in Snoqualmie.

It’s been the talk of Facebook for three days now, a new Affordable Housing Project was submitted to the City of Snoqualmie in late May. The previous project proposed by Imagine Housing fell through about three years ago and the city has yet to meet its quota of affordable rental housing required by the Snoqualmie Ridge II Mixed Use Final Plan.

The Ridge is almost built out so the clock is ticking.

Panorama Apartments LLC, a subsidiary of DevCo (also developed Discovery Heights in the Issaquah Highlands), submitted the new application, proposing to build a 191-unit, multi-family development on land parcel S-20 located in the Eagle Point neighborhood.

The land parcel is located downhill from an adjoining Eagle Pointe neighborhood and near the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital. It was designated to hold affordable housing years ago. According to the city, the parcel cannot be used for other purposes due to a 25-year covenant recorded against the property’s title, which limits the parcel’s uses to affordable multi-family rental apartment housing.

Panorama Apartments Proposal

DevCo is proposing the 191 units be spread over ten multi-family buildings of various sizes and number of units ranging from one to five bedroom floor plans.  As S-20 is a sloped property, at the top where it adjoins an existing single-family home neighborhood, two-story over garage carriage houses are proposed in order to blend. Larger three and four-story buildings would be set on terraces down the property’s slope. The complex would also have an on-site recreation and leasing center. Conceptual sketches show a pool included in the rec center. According to the application, the distribution of buildings, parking, recreation and landscaping would create a campus-like setting.

Minor Modifications Requested

To accommodate the project’s design, DevCo has applied for administrative approval of a minor modification to the 2004 Snoqualmie Ridge II Mixed Use Final Plan conditions and a Conditional Use Permit.

According to the City of Snoqualmie: “The approvals sought as part of the application are limited and address a few technical issues. The minor modification application seeks to confirm net developable acreage and, due to the site’s slope, to increase retaining wall heights above six feet. The Conditional Use Permit application seeks Hearing Examiner approval of four-story building heights. The minor modification and conditional use permit process are specifically provided for in the Snoqualmie Ridge II Development Agreement and Mixed Use Final Plan conditions.”

Per the city, the decisions on these requested approvals will be made administratively – NOT by the City Council. “As provided in the Mixed Use Final Plan Conditions, the decision on the minor modification request will be made by the Community Development Department Director with the concurrence of the chair of the Community Development Committee of the City Council.”

But, in accordance with the Snoqualmie Municipal Code, the decision on the Conditional Use Permit will be made by an outside Hearing Examiner where the public will have an opportunity to provide comments. That Hearing Examiner Public Hearing has not be scheduled yet.

Public notice of these applications was mailed to owners of property within 500 feet of the site earlier this week. (Hence the Facebook discussion.) The notice will also be published in the Snoqualmie Valley Record, and at the S20 site in Eagle Pointe.

The project will also be discussed on Monday, July 3rd at 6PM at a combined Community Development Committee and Council Committee of the Whole Meeting. (Meeting agenda HERE).

That meeting will happen at City Hall in Council Chambers. Another project that has generated a lot of public discussion recently – a possible Snoqualmie Hills West land annexation proposed to accommodate an 800-home active adult community – will also be discussed at Monday’s meeting.

Community Development Director Mark Hofman said these two discussion items won’t have packet materials, but will be presented on the projector and then discussed by committee members. The meeting is open to the public. (Staff had tried to move the meeting to July 5th, but due to scheduling conflicts, the meeting needed to stay at its earlier planned date and time.)

Hofman said by Monday city staff will have more details regarding the income qualifiers for the proposed affordable housing project – i.e. will it be 60% or 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) of King County.

Via email he commented, “At this point we know they [DevCo] are obligated to meet the SR II affordable housing credits and they are committed to that.  What we don’t know is the exact mix of the 191 units and at what range of AMI they will be rented at.  After Monday night, it will be as clear as we can get it until the project reviews are complete and the process has run its course.”

Written Comments also Welcomed

Written comments on the minor modification and conditional use permit application may submitted to Mark Hofman, City of Snoqualmie, PO Box 987, Snoqualmie, WA 98065 by July 16th, 2017 at 5PM.

More information about the Snoqualmie’s vision for affordable housing and documents related this application can be found on the city website.

Panorama Apartements architectural site plan for proposed Snoqualmie affordable housing project

 

Site plan for Panorama Apartments Affordable housing project in Snoqualmie.

Comments

  1. DJ Mahoney says:

    What is missing from the discussion is the impact on the local schools. The new school has already installed portables to accommodate the growing school population and adding in 191 units of income qualifying apartments which require specific family sizes means that we will an increase in the school age population between 100-400 students. The community desperately needs all 191 units to be rented at the 30-80% level but there is no guarantee that the developer will rent even a significant portion of the units to income qualified. In fact, putting in a private pool when no other complex or subdivsion outside of the TPC has a public or private pool alludes to the fact the developer and future property managers will seeking more affluent renters.

    • Danna McCall says:

      Actually, demographers have a lower student generation rate for multi-family housing vs. single-family homes. The district’s demographer estimates that for every 100 units of multi-family housing, 28 students are generated, which is an average estimate based on districts around SVSD. Apartments generate less students than single-family homes. That puts the number much less than what you’re estimating. Also, the developer knows they have to meet the legal quotas for the number of affordable housing units and the city stated the developer is committed to doing so. As far as a pool goes, Echo Ridge Apartment complex also a pool. So this wouldn’t be the only complex with such an amenity.

  2. Chris Anderson says:

    Come on, guys- all the people that serve you (the baristas, grocery workers, landscapers, school bus drivers, wait-people, soon to be hotel staff, etc.) in between your commutes to your tech jobs need somewhere to live, too. Plus there’s lots of woods nearby for them to camp in in case they get evicted (think downtown North Bend).

    • R. Vannatta says:

      We need more affordable housing in the district. Most that work for the district can not afford to live in it’s boundaries. Market rate apartments are too expensive for even new teachers to afford.

  3. In keeping with the increasing population of Snoqualmie, will there be enough resources such as utilities of water, sewer, gas, and electricity to meet the growing demands of The population? Is there enough fire and Police? I’ve asked this prior on fb and it was never answered. Thank you.

  4. Cathy Westerkund says:

    The people that have moved to the Ridge over the years have brought in way more children to our schools than these apartments will. They are the reason that we have had to build two elementary schools and expand the high school. We are in desperate need of affordable housing for people that work in the valley at the stores,restaurants, dental offices, coffee shops and the school district. This deal was made when the Ridge was being discussed 20 years ago and has still not happened. Whether those that live there like it or not, it needs to be done and they need to buck up and accept it. This housing is meant for people that already live and work here and if they do have children they are already enrolled in the local schools. It is a housing option that is way overdue.

  5. If everyone in the Ridge didn’t have 5 kids each the schools would be fine. Snoqualmie is overrun by kids because the entire region is void of new development at reasonable prices. We need more affordable housing

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