I’d like to respond to reporter Laura Guido’s article, “County eyeing cluster housing code revamp.”
This proposal supports greed and does not help working people looking to buy a home in Island County. Cluster development is a gift to developers. People looking to build rental properties to gouge the military and civilian families.
Affordable housing starts with rent control. Apartments that rented for $800 per month five years ago are now $1,400 and paychecks did not keep up.
Every property owner with a water well system needs to pay attention. This proposal is going to cost you thousands of out-of-pocket dollars. Demand the county pay upfront for all costs of changing the zoning and let the county recover those costs from the developers.
It happened to us and it can happen to you.
The board dumped the cost of development on the little homeowners. In 2001, our small 1960s housing development, located south of Oak Harbor, was required by the state of Washington to upgrade its water treatment system.
The county was pushing for the upgrade. It cost every homeowner between $8,000 to $11,000 to pay for the ULID for a system the state agencies demanded we install — one way too oversized for our little community. The minute that system was constructed and approved for operation, the Island County Board of Commissioners rezoned our little 150-home development as a rural area of intense development, or RAID.
They added more than 100 acres of undeveloped farm and forested land that adjoined our rural development to our existing water service area and then approved a density of development for housing that has allowed more than 300 new homes to be constructed and it is still expanding.
We paid big dollars and lost our community without a hearing or any say in the matter.
Prior to the board rezoning our area as a RAID, those same properties would have been limited to one home per five-acre parcel and remained outside of our water service area. Those property owners were represented by big developers who hired Sid Glover, former Island County planner, to advocate for them. We had no representation. The point being, water controls growth and neither the county nor the developers paid for the upgrade to our water system.
We, the original property owners, did, and the new homes did not decrease our burden to repay the bonds sold to pay for the upgrade. We provided those added properties with the utilities the county demanded in the RAID.