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Amendment promotes 'no-growth' policy
(Editor's note: The following letter was sent to North Bend Mayor Joan Simpson and City Council members.)
Regarding the "Stringfellow" amendment:
I find it disingenuous that the city is considering passing this site-specific amendment built on the premise that Mr. Ewing Stringfellow operates a commercial cattle operation. The indisputable fact is that cattle are rarely present on Middle Fork S Ranch.
Isn't it ironic for Mr. Stringfellow to represent himself as a "commercial cattle rancher" whose actual livelihood depends on the sale of a scarce few cows? This does not entitle him to be deemed a commercial cattle rancher. Especially at the expense of his neighbor's property rights.
Even more egregious is that most, if not all, of our city officials stand behind this and close their eyes to it because it suits the no-growth stance and the never-ending building moratorium agenda. This amendment is unfair and supports the rights of the few at the expense of the many.
I propose a compromise. Make anyone who moves into any newly developed properties bordering the Stringfellow ranch sign a document stating they understand they have moved into a rural farm zone and any complaints of standard farming practices or land stewardship shall not have legal consequence. It's been done before.
This whole notion of one acre generating $100 a year being considered a farm (thus receiving protection) is absurd. The ramifications of this, concerning buffers, is a highly suspect and transparent attempt (one of many) to unduly burden the property rights of those who elected your administration into office.
We are surrounded by open space ... everywhere one looks, what do we see? Thousands of acres of protected open space! Mountain to Sound Greenway, Snoqualmie Tree Farm, Tollgate Farm, etc. I know the city is looking for crown jewels of open space and that is great. I am all for it. I believe it would be in the best interest of everyone if the city bought these parcels (like Tollgate) instead of buffering, downzoning or condemning.
The bottom line concerning this issue: If and when it is challenged in a court of law, the entire administration is going to end up with egg on its face because it is based on a fantasy and you all know that. One hundred dollars a year does not a farm make. Period. End of story. This amendment is a slap in the face to all real farmers and another clandestine attempt by the North Bend City Council to buffer, borrow or steal landowners into oblivion.
Regarding Channel Migration:
This whole premise of channel migration is based on bad science. In the history of the Snoqualmie Valley, floodwaters have always returned to their original course regardless of the severity of any flood. No amount of map-making will ever change this fact.
These migration maps are full of inaccuracies and seldom take into account the actual elevations of the topography. Otherwise, they would not include all of the abstract straight lines delineating water flow. Floodwaters and rivers are moved along by flow and gravity, not to be stopped by imaginary lines.
Has anyone in the city, or county for that matter, ever considered the real origins of the 120th Street swale? Historically, it was a headwater of Silver Creek. Silver Creek flowed and carved this channel (with the help of seasonal flood events) since before recorded history.
It is highly unlikely that this swale was ever a channel for the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. If it were, river rock and boulders would be present in massive quantities, as is the case with rivers located at the base of granite mountain ranges. The flow of Silver Creek stopped years ago because of bad planning and lack of foresight.
As to the impending explosion of growth and the resulting poorly planned buildup, I hope the record reflects the true cause of the disaster as your administration's lack of long-range planning and unwillingness to consider any form of sensible growth strategy.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.