Opinion

Will North Bend survive?

I'm sure glad I own a home in the Upper Valley. But it's obvious my kids will never be able to afford to live here. Well possibly, Lynnae is still talking about being a doctor. I tried telling her that malpractice insurance will be a killer by the time she sets up a practice, but she is pretty determined.

Anyway, back to home prices. Last week my home price received another boost as this week's story tells. The Sallal Water Association is implementing an emergency moratorium. So with new development in question because of a lack of water, I figure my home will go up in value. So why be upset about the announcement, right?

The Upper Valley, minus the city limits of Snoqualmie, is destined to be nothing more than a bedroom community. The Department of Ecology (DOE), along with "no-growthers," are assuring that land owners here are held under their thumb, unable to develop their property. The lack of processing by DOE makes a person wonder if this really is a no-growth ploy. How can we not help but think it's a ploy when most of the applications for North Bend and Sallal have been sitting at the DOE for three to five years.

North Bend desperately needs economic development, but a lack of water will continue to stifle any real progress. Development in the urban growth boundary of North Bend will stall with the news that there are no additional water rights for the area.

A last minute addition to the comprehensive plan updates also throws a wrench in the process for the urban growth areas. It states that commercial and industrial land must be served by public sewer systems. It puts a timeline on the restriction to say that if North Bend hasn't provided new capacity or it has refused a connection, then it is possible to create on-site sewer. The restriction ends Dec. 31, 2006. This could further stall development east of North Bend.

So where do we go. My suggestion is to support candidates that vow to solve our water problem. It's not a matter of no-growth anymore, it's a matter of survival. We need to support candidates at the city council level all the way to the governor's mansion who will honestly provide solutions, not just talk. We also need to hold our county elected officials accountable. Under the current administration, we continue to be the playground for the rest of the county but heaven forbid if we actually want to live and work here.

We need to increase our water rights, or land values will continue to escalate along with corresponding property taxes to the point where the average family will no longer be able to live here.

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