Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thumbs up to Cove Springs

It is discouraging to read a letter denouncing a development project based upon "facts" that are not true. In her recent letter, Ann Christensen opposes the Cove Springs project on the grounds that it will: overuse the aquifer, decrease Silver Creek's flow; devastate local wildlife by interrupting migration routes and destroying habitat and breeding grounds; and by increasing traffic, adding to the tax burden.

If one actually reviews the Cove Springs application and the revisions that have been made, one will see these allegations are not true.

Water: Lee Brown, the undisputed expert in the water field often hired by the county to evaluate projects, stated in his report that Cove Springs "will neither expand water rights nor consumption and imposes no unreasonable injury to the aquifer."

Wildlife: Cove Springs has not only removed 40 lots and almost one mile of roads from areas near the elk winter habitat, but it increased the buffer zone between development and the big-game winter range. The developers have also offered substantial compensation for maintenance of wildlife habitat and conservation of open areas. Moreover, the plan does not build in the historic sage grouse lek and is adjacent to 1.3 million acres of sage grouse planning area, and that provides the requisite habitat for grouse nesting and breeding.

Traffic and tax burden: Cove Springs has offered to first, construct a left-turn lane and a park and ride for the planned Blaine/Carey transit route; second, contribute $100,000 to address traffic impacts; and, third, to provide for annual contributions to ongoing maintenance of the road. Real property tax revenues will increase as residences are taxed substantially higher than agricultural land.

If a person simply opposes any development, it would be more honest to say so rather than assert facts that are not true. Cove Springs represents a well-balanced, thoughtful process that addressed all issues, including workforce housing, which it provides despite no obligation to do so. It should be approved.

Lesley Andrus


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