Letter | Snoqualmie election as a referendum on growth

[This letter is from Snoqualmie resident, Richard Scheel. You can send letters of support for your candidate to info@livingsnoqualmie.com]

Dear Editor,

I am happy to see the abundance of candidates in our current elections for Mayor and City Council. It has been a long time since we have had so many people willing to serve.

Each candidate has their own unique qualifications, their own pros and cons. To me, the big difference is the approach to development in our community. Many residents have expressed their thoughts on the direction they want Snoqualmie to go in the future. Some prefer that our city grow more rapidly, with more new businesses. Others prefer a slower growth approach, acknowledging that growth will happen but trying to keep Snoqualmie a more rural setting.

There has been debate in this election cycle about what approach the majority of residents want. It is easy for a candidate on either side of the issue to say that they know what the people of the city want, but now we have the opportunity to hear everyone’s voice where it counts – the ballot box. Please think carefully about what YOUR vision is of Snoqualmie’s future, and vote accordingly.

If you prefer a smaller, more rural Snoqualmie, then I endorse Fuzzy Fletcher for Mayor, and Lesley Sheppard for City Council in this primary election. I have gotten to know each of them very well during the past few months. Each has great integrity, great ability, and is serious about serving the people of Snoqualmie – listening to and implementing the wishes of the residents. Also, Fuzzy has an excellent track record as a previous Mayor of Snoqualmie. He has the experience necessary to do the job, and during the years when Snoqualmie Ridge was being planned he proved to be a tough negotiator for the benefit of residents. There were very complex negotiations between the city, multiple developers, and other governmental bodies. The city came away with a very well-balanced deal.

If you prefer a Snoqualmie with more rapid economic development and more businesses, then I endorse Matt Larson and Katherine Ross. I have had occasion to get to know Matt better than Katherine, so I can say more about him. I have found Matt to be very honest, and very dedicated to serving the city. He too has the experience necessary for the position. The only negative to me personally is that I prefer slower growth, and I see Matt’s honest opinion is that the people of Snoqualmie want faster growth. If he is correct that the majority want faster growth, then I believe that he should be elected. If he is incorrect, and the majority of Snoqualmie wants slower growth, then I believe Fuzzy Fletcher should be elected.

Please express your vision of Snoqualmie with your ballot. Help our city government know where we, the people, want to go.

Sincerely,

Richard Scheel, Snoqualmie resident

Comments

  1. Fuzzy will get my vote. I support responsible, thoughtful growth that will enhance the uniqueness, tourism potential and beauty of the Snoqualmie Valley. Under this Mayor, I get huge hotels and warehouses looming over the Parkway right in the middle of town, and nightmare traffic. I do not support either the Mill Pond or Snoqualmie Hills developments without FIRST resolving the mess that is the I90/SR18 interchange, an issue that has been completely mismanaged by the current Mayor.

  2. Mayor Matt Larson says:

    My timeline for very thoughtful and managed growth has been driven by the estimated full build-out of the Snoqualmie Ridge Master Planned Community within two years. The new Safeway, Bartell’s and Hampton Hotel will provide much-needed additional services and revenue to assure that we are in a solid fiscal position at full build-out. Future growth cannot be controlled by the community if we are not in control of our city finances. When I first became mayor, the City heavily relied upon growth revenues to fund basic operations. During the past 12 years, I have successfully worked with the Council to wean us off of this unsustainable dependency upon growth. Consequently, we can afford to say no to developments such as the Snoqualmie Heights proposal to build 1,200 new homes, including 800 active senior living homes.
    I also successful lobbied the State Legislature for $150 million to fund improvements to their SR18/I90 interchange. Designs will begin this fall and the project will begin in the summer of 2019. Please vote for me and keep Snoqualmie thriving!

    • Mayor Matt Larson says:

    • Mr Mayor,
      Does this mean that you will vote “no” on the Snoqualmie Hills development at least until our traffic woes are resolved? Please make your intentions known. As far as the I-90 interchange goes this is a “patch” not a “fix” and I would be more enthusiastic about your accomplishment if we were not facing significant construction periods – one for your patch, and another for the inevitable real fix. I give you props on Dave’s “uniqueness” comment though – the proposed new intersection with folks driving on the wrong side of the road will be unique, and probably cause countless accidents given the proportion of interchange users that are not local, and will be caught by surprise. Still mismanaged in my book…

    • I do not take issue with the new retail and hotel per se. The retail is nicely done… recessed into the landscape. Although… another Starbucks… really? This is keeping our city unique with a well defined character? (a rhetorical question) The last thing we can say is that the hotel will be “recessed”. Quite the contrary… it will tower over the Parkway to such an extent that we had to downgrade standards to accommodate. There was a perfectly appropriate site near the hospital. Yet we take up the middle of town with a hotel citizens have no use for. This is on top of lots of noteworthy “achievements” – the neighboring warehouse “landing strip”, developing a subdivision next to Snoqualmie Falls (of all places), taking a wonton “clear cut” approach to development (to heck with estatics if we can maximize developer profits), increasing sewer bills, etc. Etc. I am really for a new Mayor.

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    Snoqualmie citizens concerned about rapid or slower growth should be aware that all seven of the city council members will go on record august 14th with a vote to proceed or not to proceed with the proposed 260 acre snoqualmie heights annexation process, the goal of which is a proposed 800 to 1200 unit development. The citizens will not get to vote on the annexation or development, as the decisions will be made by just four of the seven council members. Snoqualmie citizens will however have the opportunity to elect six of the seven city council members this November. Choose wisely, as this election will have consequences!
    Paul Johnson

    • Danna McCall says:

      Just to add – if they vote on 8/14 to accept the Annexation Letter of Intent (LOI), that is not a vote to annex this land. There is another step after the LOI that involves studying a lot of different aspects of a possible annexation and getting 60% of residents in the annexation area to agree to sell land. Only after this step – which is estimated to take almost one year – would they formally vote whether or not to annex the land. Voting yes to the LOI is not a vote to annex. A yes vote at this point means the agree to study the implications and aspects of a possible annexation more. After that further examination, they would then vote yes or no.

      • Paul Johnson says:

        Danna correctly describes the august vote, it’s not the annexation, but a vote to enable the annexation process to continue. The actual vote to annex will take place in the next year, and that vote will be made by the city councilors that are elected this November. Again I urge snoqualmie citizens to support candidates that share your views on the pace of development. The current councilors have voting records from earlier this year that indicate how they each approach development. Study those, but also watch their august 14th votes as a clear indication of their intentions. Do they want a process to continue that will likely lead to the large annexation in 2018, or do they think it would be more prudent to wait and pursue this at a later time.

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