County Review Board ruling means North Bend could enter Sallal territory, supply water to 212-unit Cedar River Apartment development

[Article updated to correct information stating the UTRC said North Bend could supply water to the Shelter Holding project. It only ruled Sallal could not provide water in a timely manner. The ruling could lead to a water purveyor switch to North Bend, which provided documentation to the UTRC that it could supply water to the project.]

In April Shelter Holdings – which is planning to build a 212-unit apartment complex and city park on the Dahlgren property (i.e. the mule pasture) along North Bend Way – filed an appeal with the King County Utilities Technical Review Committee (UTRC) requesting provider change for the project, saying Sallal could not provide water in a timely and reasonable manner.

The development lies within the city limits of North Bend, but also within the water service area of the Sallal Water Association. Shelter Holdings requested the water service provider change because Sallal did not have enough water rights to provide service to the entire project. They had enough water for about half of the units, but last year a hearing examiner ruled the project could not break ground unless there was enough water for the entire project from one water provider.

Shelter Holdings filed the appeal based on Sallal not being able to provide water in a timely manner. Sallal and the City of North Bend had been working on a water supply contract for years, but a deal still hasn’t been reached and the developer was ready to move forward with the project.

It took the UTRC nearly four months decide on the Shelter Holdings appeal, but on August 12th ruled that Sallal cannot provide water to the project in a timely manner and removed the mule pasture land parcel from the Sallal Water Association Service area.

This could lead to North Bend supplying water to the project. The developer said it is prepared to install thousands of feet of water main to connect to the city’s water supply and the city provided documentation to the committee and the developer that it had the water to serve the apartment units.

The committee considered and reviewed submissions and documents from the city, Sallal and Friends of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail before making its unanimous decision.

The decision stated that although water rights and source water and mitigation appear to be limited for both Sallal and the city, the are not factors considered in the timely service appeal.

In July, Sallal provided the committee with new information – that it had been released from providing water to a 76-unit development and now had enough water for the entire Shelter Holdings project.

In the end, the committee determined Shelter Holdings had demonstrated that it had waited over one year for water – since first being issued a Certificate of Water Availability by Sallal on May 10, 2018 – and the July 2019 offer of water for the project did not address timely service nor negate the failure to provide service under the May 2018 water certificate.

Sallal Water Association Board member Daylin Baker said the decision is appealable, but she did not yet know if the Sallal Board would pursue an appeal.

In mid July, North Bend Community Development Director David Miller said the city was preparing a Clear and Grade Permit for the Shelter Holdings project – called Cedar River Apartments – and said that land preparation work could start in about four weeks, dependent on the UTRC decision.

The North Bend city council council also approved a Developer Extension Agreement in July that detailed the project infrastructure, including water main installation that would hook into the city’s water supply.

Cedar River Apartment Site Plan Schematics:

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