Opinion

Planning Commission needs to address issues

Michelle Gustafson, the chairperson of the North Bend Planning Commission, is right. I have submitted my application to the city of North Bend to fill the vacant spot on the Planning Commission. I would be happy to join Michelle and her fellow Commission members in pursuit of fair and balanced solutions to the numerous challenges facing the city from a planning perspective.

We can talk about the reasons the flood migration area that severely impacts the homeowners in Silver Creek was not a part of your Commissions' original recommendation to the Council. It has been put back into the Comprehensive Plan. Why? Will the devaluation of the homes in Silver Creek negatively impact the tax base of the city? Do we care?

I hope we can review explanations of how hotel and other service-type businesses commonly found on major highway interchanges are now a part of the allowed uses of an IMU (Interchange Mixed Use). What wasn't clear are the actual restrictions imposed on an IMU to footprints, signage, windows facing residential areas, lighting, noise, hours of operation and other issues that make most of the allowed uses economically untenable.

The issue of who pays and how much never seems to make it to the discussions at the Planning Commission and Council meetings that I have attended. Enforcement costs, new program costs, litigation costs as property owners struggle to comply with a whole series of complex restrictions that do nothing to enhance the rural character of the community. Most of these "tools" to control growth do nothing more than raise the ante for people who want to invest in becoming a part of our community or simply keep their current homes here.

Sometimes "solutions" are as simple as not implementing unnecessary restrictions. I will be happy to work with Michelle and the rest of the Commission to that end. I do realize that an appointment to the Planning Commission rests solely at the discretion of the mayor. With your support as chairperson, Michelle, I am sure we can move forward to enhance the diversity of opinion represented on the Commission.


Ross Loudenback

North Bend

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