Snoqualmie eyes three-story development near downtown

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A vacant 9,000 square foot grass lot along Maple Avenue, which backs onto the Snoqualmie Depot, is being targeted by the city for development of a three-story mixed-use building

The development, known as The Rails, would construct a 35-foot-tall building in Snoqualmie’s downtown historic district. The first floor would have retail and office space facing the street with parking to the rear. The second and third floors would contain 11 apartments, alongside a rooftop with amenities.

The open lot exists within the Snoqualmie Downtown Historic District Overlay, a city municipal code zoning requirement designed to protect and preserve the downtown historic aesthetic. This code requires that the project design be approved by the city’s Historic Design Review Board.

The city’s planning commission, acting as a review committee, approved the project design with minor changes at its Jan. 18 meeting. However, 10 residents – including at least six who live along Maple Avenue – have appealed the project’s design.

Dane Stokes, a Snoqualmie resident who served as the callers’ spokesman at the March 14 city council meeting, said the callers and 15 other neighborhood residents believe the designs violated the city’s municipal code.

“I live within sight of this lot and am horrified that something of such poor aesthetic design and questionable zoning interpretations is being planned for my neighborhood,” he said at the meeting. .

In rebuttal, city staff said eight of the 10 appeals did not identify the legal grounds for an appeal. The other two appeals, city staff said, fail to demonstrate that the historic design review board was “clearly in error” and should be dismissed.

Still, the city council voted unanimously on March 14 to table the decision to reject those appeals and approve the design of the development until more information can be provided from previous commission meetings. of planning.

One of the concerns raised by council was that an objection to the code contained in several of the appellants’ historic design review appeals was not addressed by city staff in its rebuttal. This code requires that the King County Office of Cultural Resources be notified and receive a report of all new structures built in the historic district of the city.

Several requests to the city’s director of community development for comment were not returned.

Under city law, the city council must make a decision on the status of the appeal within 70 days – by April 19 – and is expected to make a decision at its next meeting on March 28.

Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record Site of a potential three-story mixed-use building along Maple Avenue in Snoqualmie.

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