Developer proposes 800-unit retirement community in Snoqualmie, large land annexation needed

At the February 9, 2017 Snoqualmie City Council Retreat, a local real estate development group, Snoqualmie Heights Master Plan, LLC, announced their plans to bring an planned ‘active-adult’ retirement community to the city.

According to a press release, after more than two years of planning and discussions with the city and property owners of the area identified to hold the proposed development, called the Snoqualmie Hills West Annexation Area, the development group is ready to initiate the annexation process.

The 2014 City of Snoqualmie Comprehensive Plan identified a need for an ‘innovative planned retirement community in the Snoqualmie Hills West potential annexation area,’ which is located between Snoqualmie Parkway and downtown Snoqualmie and within the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). Contracts/agreements have also been signed with landowners.

The City Council, though, would first have to approve the land annexation. According to a presentation given at the council retreat, the formal announcement of the intent to annex the 260-acres needed for the development will happen this spring.

225 acres of the development would hold approximately 800 age-restricted (55+) housing units, including a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums.  The remaining 35 acres would be allocated for 400 over-retail-apartments (non age-restricted), an assisted living facility and potentially other services determined to meet community needs. The developers are seeking mixed-use zoning for the entire annexation area.

The proposed development would have access from Snoqualmie Parkway, possibly on Fisher Ave, and also have in and out access streets on its eastern edge near downtown Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Casino. It is also possible Douglas Street [in the Business Park] could be extended as an access street. The development would be located behind the Woody Creek and Braeburn neighborhoods.

Phased in development proposed for ‘Snoqualmie Hills West Potential annexation land’ as identified in City of Snoqualmie Comprehensive Plan.

Active Adult Community Needed, says City

Per the press release, “a new community specifically tailored to those 55 and older will address an unmet demand in the Snoqualmie Valley, where housing options for the region’s burgeoning retiree population are limited.”

City of Snoqualmie Community Development Director Mark Hofman said this development could fill a gap and be a good fit for the growing number of baby boomers looking to downsize and stay in the area, adding that such a demand is currently not being met in fast-growing King County. The development, with its smaller homes, was described as an option for empty-nesters who don’t need the big house anymore and want to stay close to home – or possibly retirees looking to be near their grandchildren.

“We are excited to bring forward a proposal that represents an opportunity for the city, the community and the landowners to work together on a coordinated development that will accommodate and support Snoqualmie’s residential growth plan and address the needs of this population demographic, today and in the future,” said Sno-Heights MP spokesman Michael Matysik.

Matysik said the potential Snoqualmie development was inspired by successful projects and incorporates features of developments like Trilogy on Redmond Ridge and Patriots Landing in Dupont. They hope to create a “multi-generational community in Snoqualmie with housing and services tailored to the active adult lifestyle.”

During the council presentation, it was discussed that Snoqualmie has attracted many young families and this potential development would draw a different population, one that supports the community without adding pressure to schools, traffic, etc.

The Sno-Heights development group said they are ready to work with the city to address key elements of the proposed development in a Pre-Annexation Agreement. Detailed community planning, though, would occur after annexation, with an emphasis on integrating the proposed neighborhood into the city.

The Sno-Heights project team is also working with city staff on issues like water availability, traffic analysis, a cost-benefit overview and an annexation implementation plan.

If the city council approves the annexation, development would be phased, with the first phase of home construction anticipated around 2020.

Spokesman Matysik commented, “We look forward to working with the city to bring this new housing element to the community in a manner that supports and complements existing neighborhoods, businesses and the environment.”

With the last big city land annexation (old the Mill Site), multiple public hearings were held to give residents an opportunity to comment.

 

Annexation of land needed for proposed retirement community in Snoqualmie.

 

 

Comments

  1. Chris Anderson says:

    Is it April 1rst already? ‘Cause this has to be a joke…

  2. Of course Snoqualmie will approve of the annexation. Think about all of that new tax revenue. The best thing is after all this growth to try to be just like Issaquah or better yet Bellevue our city will be after us for yet more money to get more cops and firemen and “infrastructure” (no specific definition mind you). I’m sure that with a couple of flood free years they will next lift the restriction on building in town. There’s a perfect place for a Costco and target down here.

  3. I don’t know anyone “55 and older” who doesn’t “add pressure to traffic” AND can still be an “Active Adult”!?!
    “Active Adult Community Needed, says City” Really, who exactly said this!?!

  4. Brace yourselves…Snoqualmie Parkway will soon become a freeway. The traffic volume, the trucks, the speed, the dirt and dust… Our reality and future isn’t pretty!

    • Very sad indeed. We’ve made a conscious choice to come out here to get away from the congestion and traffic in Issaquah and Sammamish. My parents are elderly, they wouldn’t ever move out here with the extreme winds and weather. It’s definitely not desirable for the elderly. I refer to it as “the wild wild West.” ☺️

  5. I guess now they will HAVE to fix 18/parkway/I-90 interchange… Right?!? /Sarc

  6. What about the people that don’t want to sell their homes? These homes aren’t in “tear down” condition. They are beautiful homes with beautiful views and many people have animals, as well. This makes me so MAD!!!

  7. Chris Anderson says:

    When the Ridge was developed house values in “old” Snoqualmie plummeted (Econ.101: supply vs. demand). Now you’re looking at a 20% + increase in the number of homes, and that’s not including the project by the Salish, or taking into account the degradation of the quality of life and the impact that will have on values. It WAS too good to be true- better stop treating your house like an ATM…

  8. Sophie Rockow says:

    “Contracts and agreements have been signed with landowners”.

    This is going to be a little long, but I want to start with this. My family lives up on this hill known as “Snoqualmie Heights”. My parents, as well as at least three other families up on the hill, have not signed any contracts or come to any agreements with this large developer. It is disappointing that the press release depicts that everyone on the hill is all in, as they are not all in, and many are devastated by the possibility of the destruction of the beautiful homes and land that they’ve gotten to live and grow on.

    My family has been living on this hill since 1993, and in a time of such technological and societal advancement that the Valley has been through the past few decades it could not have been a more perfect place to grow up. I got to live in a place that gave me a break from the hustle and bustle of our increasingly busy lifestyles, while also being just about a mile away from town. I got to grow up in the woods and raise all sorts of animals (cows, pigs, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, the list goes on and on), many of which are still on the property today. Most importantly I got to just be a kid: playing outside all day, building tree forts in the woods, coming home with grass and dirt stains on the knees of my jeans. Many of the families on our hill have young children and are living up here to give them a similar experience of growing up in a beautiful area just slightly removed from town.

    I love that I got to grow up here, and I love the Snoqualmie Valley. I had a great experience in the Snoqualmie Valley school system and am a proud graduate of Mount Si High School. So many memories were made all over the Valley, and I would not have changed one aspect of my childhood in this beautiful place. I would have loved to stay here and raise a family here, but at the rate of growth and change that occurs here, that will probably not be the case. It’s disappointing on so many levels that this beautiful area continues to be developed out and destroyed, but in this situation it is very much a personal disappointment. I understand why it is easy for people to say to “stop thinking emotionally”, because yes, the population is climbing in Washington. However, it is hard to not have an emotional connection to such a beautiful area that my childhood will always be tied to. It is hard to accept that my childhood home will ever be sold, but I would so much rather it be sold to another family who would get to love, enjoy, and make memories in than to it being sold, torn down, and turned into an apartment complex. What makes the Snoqualmie Valley so great is that it is one of the less population-dense areas in King County, and it would be difficult to see us become the next Bellevue or Issaquah.

    As a closing note, I do want to say that it is very heartwarming to see so many comments that are in opposition to this proposed project. It is truly amazing to see that many of you have the same sort of love for the Valley as I do, and I am hopeful that it gets to stay just as beautiful and breathtaking that it is now for at least a few more years. To those of you wondering why any of us on the hill would not want to sell our houses and reap the monetary benefits that come from selling your house to a big developer, I say that there is no price that I could put on fresh air, beautiful scenery, and having more than 20 feet between our house and the neighboring houses.

    • Danna McCall says:

      The statement about signed contracts with landowners wasn’t made in the press release – just wanted to clarify that part. It was something stated during the presentation about this possible development and potential annexation to council members during their retreat on February 9th.

      • So, the developer, or developer’s representative, lied to the City Council? And the City Council isn’t kicking them out the door because of it?

    • Thank you Sophie for your thoughtful post. It gives us a different perspective coming from you. The thought that the home we raised our son in could be torn down would be very sad. We presently live in Braeburn, toward the back of the neighborhood, and every morning I hear the wonderful sounds of a rooster and the moos of a cow. We moved here after raising our son on the Sammamish Plateau for 22 years. It was so pristine when we moved to Sammamish. Perfection. So, while we didn’t have a farm, I know exactly how you feel. We owned the lot next to our home, so it was spacious and private. It had tall, beautiful evergreen trees and our son loved playing there. We drove by the old house last weekend and the new owners have sold the adjacent lot, and the house behind us on 2 acres is completely torn down. Why? So they can build 7 new homes. Our home is still standing, but as you can just imagine, it doesn’t look the same. Sammamish is unrecognizable……. If they’ve agreed to it by now, The Ridge will have a hotel. It makes zero sense for safety reasons alone, because it’s just a block away from an elementary school. It’s completely undesirable…..Big business is back at it now, because the real estate market can make nothing but money for them. It won’t last forever. The market is unpredictable. And this is coming from me, a Real Estate Broker. However, one that truly cares about our communities and families. That’s first and foremost. Best of luck to you and your family. I hope I continue to hear the wonderful sounds of the farm in the future. It’s one of the things I love about our home. Take care.

  9. I find it amazing that with such little knowledge of what is being proposed there are so many experts. In this age of instant hate, it seems like we need to gain a little knowledge about the subject before making such dramatic statements. Why would you just fight and complain for the sake complaining? What if this is a good thing? Wait listen and then complain if you still need to. Why is everyone so angry?

  10. Please stop trying to make our area the new Issaquah heights. Less is more

    • You are right! Looks like we are going the way of Issaquah Highlands. They just can’t leave beautiful open spaces alone and farms where families were raised. This may seem off topic, but it reminds me of how man’s greed stole 100’s of magnificent Orcas from the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands until Wa adopted a law that prevented it. However, so many were already sold to sea aquariums, mainly Sea World, the damage was done……If we don’t try and voice our opinions we will have nothing left of our area. Don’t be complacent, this isn’t the time.

  11. Paul Johnson says:

    Our home of 22 years is in the proposed development area and we have made it plain to the developer that we and some of our neighbors are not interested at all. The developer’s proposed map in the article places roads through and between the properties of residents who are opposed to the develomnent, perhaps in an effort to intimidate us.
    This is an island in the midst of active development, and a haven for wildlfe. It is between the ridge, casino, and I90, and viewing the satellite map image illustrates it’s importance to the area’s character.
    Just this week we were visited by deer, coyotes, a bobcat, rabbits, and the ever present birds. Also, though less common, this week included five elk.
    We do not need or want another development here, and to become yet another eastside over-developed high-priced suburb.
    Paul Johnson

  12. Thanks Paul for sharing. I hope your neighbors come forward too and let everyone know what this area means to you all. This area where your home is located along with your neighbors is very important to Snoqualmie besides you and your families of course. I was just saying to my husband yesterday that the wildlife is being driven out. And to think they are proposing EIGHT HUNDRED residences, that’s over the top. Let us know if we can help in any way. To think you witnessed that wildlife in the past week is amazing. Hold fast!

  13. This must be a joke indeed! What a hilarious laugh I got out of this! When it comes to our Mayor, all I ever hear is this or that will “increase our tax base” which is truly asinine. I think what Matt Larson means to say is that, this or that will “greatly increase his own ego”. Why is the beautiful small town of Snoqualmie turning into Issaquah? This is not why I moved here!!!

    • Couldn’t agree more CHD! It looks as though they’ve gotten away with the motel/hotel, now a HUGE retirement community?! The mayor and city council don’t care one bit about its Snoqualmie residents. They just can’t leave well enough alone. The Safeway center in itself will be a big change, but I realize we needed some conveniences, it made sense. But the other proposals are going to change the community permanently. I would hate to think I was responsible for that, but that’s exactly where all the blame will be on the mayor and city council. Very disappointing.

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