Friday, April 13, 2007

Camas story was one-sided

I would normally not consider airing Camas County matters in a Blaine County newspaper, but the article on land use and zoning in the April 4 edition of the Express begs for a rebuttal to enlighten Camas County readers.

First, I am pleased that the Camas County Commission has taken on the issues of land-use planning and zoning and I congratulate the commissioners for their initiative. That said, the descriptions of recent actions of the commission in the Express were, to be gentle, somewhat one-sided. Let me provide a different perspective:

Far from "curbing sprawl," the zoning map approved on March 29 substantially increases residential density on more than 20,000 acres of formerly Ag-80 land. This upzoning equals a build-out of more than 15,000 residences in a county of less than 1,100 citizens and, according to the planning and zoning administrator, more than 2,000 existing undeveloped residential lots. It could be worse, but it's still sprawl.

Regarding the land-use map, if this is "essentially the county's vision for ... the future," why is the new zoning map nearly identical in area and allowed density? The future must be now.

Also, the only reason a moratorium on subdivision applications in the area around Fairfield was needed on March 29 was because the commission had approved a map that very morning that drastically increased zoning density on most of those nine sections. This "stop me before I approve something I shouldn't again" attitude is surreal.

Finally, good riddance to the Agricultural Transition zoning overlay, but if the commission thinks it is undesirable, why allow four more years of mistakes?

In summary, the commission has lurched into a precipitous and ill-considered set of actions and the Express should have recognized and reported diverse Camas County viewpoints in its coverage.

Dan Kenney

Camas County

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