Coalition should advocate for builders already here

Editor,

Regarding the article in the Nov. 3 Whidbey News-Times about the anonymous Citizens Coalition, it’s ironic that Mr. Leo Mitchell states, “There seems to be a hidden agenda.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I attended the Oct. 3 Oak Harbor City Council meeting. It was obvious that my opposition to Wright’s Crossing was falling on deaf ears and that the city council already made up its collective mind to promote the huge development.

The Island County Buildable Lands Analysis, recently approved in December 2017 after an extensive process agreed to by the Oak Harbor City Council, was ignored, as was the fact that the majority of people already living here do not want this mega-development to proceed.

Oak Harbor City Council, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the Whidbey Island Association of Realtors tried their best to steamroll Wright’s Crossing into existence under the altruistic guise of “affordable housing.” I surmise that the “small group of mostly anonymous Oak Harbor citizens” that Mr. Mitchell refers to are members of these three factions.

Those of us opposed to Wright’s Crossing have not hidden behind the shield of anonymity. We have posted our names online, declared ourselves at meetings and have honorably stood by our convictions. Is it possible that anonymity is a mask for the fact that a 1,500-home development is so wrong for Whidbey Island?

If the anonymous Citizens Coalition is concerned about a lack of housing, why isn’t it advocating for the builders already in business here? During the Oct. 3 meeting, a local builder stated they could currently create 200 homes in Oak Harbor. He said he would be happy to have any member of city council call him and he would gladly give them information on where these homes could be built. Two hundred homes would make a big dent in the lack of housing.

I doubt the builder was contacted.

Perhaps the anonymous faction would like to get in touch with him.

The catch phrase “affordable housing” has supplanted the true meaning of a huge development — profit. Profit for the developer, profit for the realtors, profit for the businesses supplying goods and services.

Profits are necessary, but when the profiteers’ pockets are full and the results are horrendous traffic issues, water issues and loss of the ambiance of Whidbey Island, will they be the first to sell and move on to a more peaceful place?

Current residents support these businesses now, the same residents who do not want a 1,500- home mega-development negatively impacting paradise.

Contrary to the aspersion of an Oak Harbor City Council member who implied I purchased my home 30 years ago and therefore am not concerned about housing, I am not a lifelong resident of Oak Harbor.

I was lucky enough to purchase my affordable home three years ago after an extensive search.

I moved here because I love the feel of the island. Change what Whidbey is now and there will be plenty of homes for sale, including mine.

Kathleen Sulak

Oak Harbor

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