Residents' desires, needs must be part of solution
The three-way Intergovernmental Agreement among Lake Oswego, West Linn and Tualatin allows people to develop under the existing zoning, but not to urbanize and get land added until the cities do concept planning.
That won't be done north of the Tualatin River for 10 years; during that time, I-205 improvements need to be made. The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland and David W. Marks of the Stafford Landowners Associations have filed a notice of intent to appeal the three-way IGA at LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeals), naming the City of Tualatin as a respondent.
According to Eben Foder, author of "Better Not Bigger," growth is fueled by the real estate development industry, which doesn't want you to question the benefits of continued growth nor be aware of the costs it creates.
Where do the desires of residents fit into the equation?
In 2015, Stafford Hamlet residents ratified a Vision Plan with an overwhelming majority of residents owning under over five acres. We wanted "better" for our community, not "bigger."
We recognized that well and septic systems were not adequate to accommodate significant increases in density; nor did existing infrastructure for schools and transportation fit into our scheme of how we wanted to be.
We wanted to maintain our agricultural and historic areas, and protect the wildlife, wildlife habitat, quality of water and air, and our quality of life.
We wanted and still want to preserve this area for future generations of our children, something that would be destroyed by the Stafford Landowners Association's Fregonese plan that shows Stafford, Johnson Road, and Rosemont as five-lane highways, with a bridge crossing the Tualatin through Fiala Farm, a century-old farm still providing residents with fresh vegetables and fruits, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze and a Family Fest in September. Still, there is a push by land speculators, the county and Metro to push mass development into this area.
Why should cities surrounding the Stafford Hamlet care? Think traffic for one.
None of the three cities want to create another Tualatin-Sherwood Road on Rosemont, Stafford, Childs or Johnson Road. Wilsonville is planning on developing 1,901 units, with 40 percent of the traffic potentially coming through the hamlet.
It's figured that each unit will have two cars, which equates to around 1,600 additional car trips a day. These will pass through the hamlet to Lake Oswego and West Linn. How can a city planner willingly state their relief valve is another city's problem?
And the Fregonese plan? It pushes 6,700 units into the hamlet with 134,000 car trips a day. And the residents of the cities and the hamlet pick up 40 percent of the costs of infrastructure (sewer, water, roads), along with all the costs of schools, added police, fire, etc. The cities have insufficient funds to pay for the work needed inside the existing city.
Why should residents inside and outside the hamlet care? For one, developers have run to the Legislature with HB 2001, which throws out community planning, allowing a mix of housing to be dumped into old, well-established neighborhoods and causing problems with infrastructure support.
For another, without thoughtful development in the Stafford Hamlet, your life will be affected, and it's your government that will be making the decisions. Let your voices be heard.
Ann Culter is a West Linn resident.
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