There is reason for genuine concern in the upcoming election for two positions on Oak Harbor’s City Council. It is no coincidence that city council candidates Michael Crawford and Jeff Mack have political signs posted around town that are literally joined together.
It is also no coincidence that these two candidates continue to “stay on message” in public forums and elsewhere as noted in a Whidbey News-Times article published on Oct. 2, 2019. That message is “build, build build” and further, that the City of Oak Harbor should stay out of the way of developers. And, it is no coincidence that the top contributor to each candidate’s campaign is Tri-Son Investments, the owner of Wright’s Crossing, LLC.
Wright’s Crossing and Tri-Son are the same Nevada development company that has been trying, unsuccessfully, to build 1,500 homes on farmland south of Oak Harbor. This same developer is also currently seeking the city’s approval to build over 150 homes in Oak Harbor on the hillside that is commonly referred to in our community as the “Freund homestead,” located above the Safeway/Walmart shopping center.
Finally, this same developer is attempting to persuade the City of Oak Harbor to approve an 11-unit development on Scenic Heights Street, where previously, just two single-family residences were located.
Growth and development are certainly a necessary component to economic development and must be permitted to accommodate the increasing demand in our community for housing. But development also requires planning and moderation.
When the city or county governments require developers to comply with land use planning, zoning, compatibility with surrounding uses and other development standards, the developer’s response should not be to try and “buy” their way into the city council.
While it appears that Mr. Mack and Mr. Crawford have other issues to address, their joint message of “build, build build” and their direct connection to an out-of-state developer should be cause for concern to Oak Harbor citizens and voters.
When you consider which candidate will best serve the interests of the citizens of Oak Harbor, I urge you to re-elect Councilwoman Tara Hizon and vote to fill Rick Almberg’s vacant seat by supporting Joseph Busig.