Letters to the Editor

Only correct about one thing

Essentially the only thing valid or factually supported in your Dec. 12 editorial regarding the Comprehensive Plan Task Force is the statement, “The politics involved are sticky.”

The editor has never attended an Oak Harbor Comprehensive Plan Task Force meeting, never experienced the open forum of exchange between concerned citizens, task force members, and city staff. Consequently one can only wonder: What is the logical basis for any of the editor’s task force recommendations?

Apparently the editor does not realize that the Growth Management Act consists of much more than creating a plan. It is intended to create a dynamic planning and enactment process, not to just produce another shelved plan to be dusted off periodically. In fact, updates can be more complicated, involving more issues of development than the original plan.

For example, last year the development of the new, extensive business enterprise area and the initiative of an open space program were major new task force accomplishments.

The editor also somehow, unexplainably, relates reduced government cost to the elimination of the task force. This cost reduction relationship is simply untrue. Excessive administration costs implies schedule delays or requirements for excessive information preparation. In fact, never has the task force failed to accomplish its work on a schedule requested by the council. Never has the task force required information which was redundant or not required as needed by council or the planning commission.

The fact is that the task force accomplishes a major role of public participation, expressly set forth by separate, special emphasis in state laws which established the Growth Management Act. The previous system of public participation only during council/planning commission meetings was considered inadequate. In addition, I believe the very important partnership Oak Harbor has with the Navy is significantly enhanced by the Navy’s participation in the task force development issues.

So editor, please do more homework. Participate in task force meetings, review the Growth Management Act, review the results of Oak Harbor’s previous two experiences with the Western Washington Hearings Board, review task force minutes of meetings and consult with Navy representatives.

Following that logical review process, please base your recommendation on fact, or at least publicly conclude that they are based on “sticky politics.”

Jerry Jones lives in Oak Harbor

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