Development: Wrong place for Home Depot
July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:04 PM
The most precious commodity we have here on Whidbey Island is the land. What stands out to many people who come to Whidbey and who live here is the beauty of our rural landscape. What is most special to me about Oak Harbor and my neighborhood is the sense of community, and the fact that we are not a big, anonymous city.
This Saturday I read the front-page article about the proposed Home Depot development, just blocks from my home. Home Depot has promoted conservation by refusing to purchase old growth timber. Is the potential site for the store in Oak Harbor in keeping with their conservation-minded values?
The land Home Depot is considering for purchase in Oak Harbor is adjacent to many peoples homes. Removal of hedgerows and trees and the increased traffic of a large store in this area will greatly impact the neighborhood, increasing noise and impacting traffic flow, and bringing significant change to the character of the neighborhood, even if walls are built.
This particular land parcel is also a green buffer zone and a breath of fresh air, mitigating the heavily trafficked, commercial region of Highway 20. Currently this land is an open field, with hedgerows, trees and an ecologically sensitive wetland. This land is a resting and breeding place for many migrating and resident birds, wildflife and a diversity of plant species. Sadly, these dont have any voice when their homes are at risk of destruction.
Rather than develop the parcel of land off of Ely Street, and destroy this needed open green space in the midst of many existing buildings and residences, may the decision instead be in favor of leaving this land as is. May a different site, more suitable for a large development, either in Oak Harbor, or elsewhere be the location for the next Home Depot. Please share your views with Larry Cort, Oak Harbors Senior Planner, 240-6447 and with the City Council, 679-5551.