The planning commission voted on Monday to say no to Wrights Crossing after hearing public comment and the persuasive comments from staff. This vote simply says we do not want to hear any more discussion, nor do we wish to accept the offer from Wrights Crossing of an EIS, a comprehensive traffic study and a new BLA to either confirm, complete or contradict the 2016 BLA that all agree has some flaws, and to what degree is at question.
Emotional attachments to the beauty of the island were expressed well by conservationists. A few concerns were the protection of our forests, our farms, our water.
The studies that were proposed would help identify the risk and method of conservation. Would it be better not to plan and to remove our forest five acres at a time at five acres per house?
And for the farming, if it were a viable farm, why did another farmer not step up to buy a working farm? As for the water, if the property remains a farm, where agriculture requires 92 percent of our water footprint, this could use much more of this precious resource, and the houses will still be built within an acceptable area of the jobs, so still drawing from the same Skagit River. Seems we won’t be saving any water.
There was discussion of profiteering. It was stated that very few building permits were issued in Oak Harbor in 2016. With such a housing shortage why so few?
Could it be that it is not cost effective to build and sell? Economies of scale might be a good solution that could provide the much needed housing. And what value would 1,500 households generating $50,000 – $75,000 per year in to our economy be to Oak Harbor?
There are many good points for discussion; the planning commission just voted to say no to any further study or discussion. Is this really good planning?