Opinion

Public has enough open space

As a citizen and business owner in North Bend, I do not support the $3,560,000 bond indebtedness to purchase 52 acres of pasture, 70 percent of which will remain open space after development. My primary reasons are that the public already owns and supports nearly 1000 acres of pasture between Snoqualmie and North Bend. This is in addition to the publicly owned forest lands that surround our community.

This purchase is financially irresponsible. After the passage of this bond proposition, the city (we tax payers) will still be $1,500,000 short of making our financial commitment to the Miller family. This is a problem for a city that will spend $200,000 more than it is taking in this year and is projecting a $500,000 revenue shortage in two years. We have no money saved to develop or preserve this space, nor do we have money saved to improve the streets, water and sewer systems. All will require additional rate increases and bond indebtedness on a reduced tax base.

The Tollgate Master Site Plan includes a maximum of 1,005,000-square-feet of professional office, R & D facilities and light industrial uses. Between 700 and 3,125 jobs will be created over the 10- to 15-year build out. The owner of this property has agreed to comply with the 0-foot flood-water rise and compensatory flood storage at the same elevation criteria as found in the King County Flood Hazard Reduction Plan and policies. The owner is providing traffic improvements as identified in the Environmental Impact Statement. For example, Tollgate will spend $275,000 to install new traffic signals and to make other improvements at Exit 31 and I-90. This project will fund much of the new water and sewer improvements the city has planned. Although the application was submitted in 1996, the owner has agreed to comply with the new 2000 City of North Bend Design Guidelines. The Miller family intends to remain in the community (they've been here since 1908) and build this project themselves.

The city and we business owners have invested a great deal of money in anticipation of selling our services to the employees and businesses of this future development. I recommend we use the income from Tollgate Master Site Plan to pay for the open space and other needs our community will have. Vote "No" on Proposition 1.

George Wyrsch

North Bend

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