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Editor's note: The following is a copy of a letter written to the North Bend Planning Commission concerning the proposed Tollgate development.)
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your upcoming decision on the future of Tollgate Farm. Please have the courage and vision to preserve this land, one of the signature agricultural and cultural landmarks of North Bend.
I'm sure you are awash in paper, so I will be brief. My top 10 reasons to preserve Tollgate are:
1. Your own comprehensive plan makes retention of North Bend's rural character a priority and identifies Tollgate Farm as a key rural feature.
2. Much time, effort and money was spent to preserve Meadowbrook Farm. Tollgate and Meadowbrook are the two quintessential agricultural landmarks of the North Bend-Snoqualmie area and provide the beautiful rural division between the two. Meadowbrook without Tollgate is Franklin without Eleanor, Abbott without Costello!
3. Paving such a large area in the floodplain would simply worsen the area's flood risk and could very well end up flooding Meadowbrook.
4. Tollgate and Meadow-brook provide a beautiful scenic entry to North Bend, a breathtaking foreground to the majesty of Mount Si. Do you want all roads leading to North Bend to look like the "generica" of the Exit 31 development?
5. The environmental impact statement on this project provides you with the authority to deny it. Please have the courage to do so!
6. The project, as planned, would draw heavily on already-short water supplies and would dramatically increase sewage treatment demand.
7. The land known as Tollgate is important not only to those who love scenic beauty, but is a significant cultural area to the Snoqualmie Indians. Please be sensitive to their concerns.
8. Is there a more colorful character in the history of early North Bend than Lucinda Fares? She made her living on the land and was a good friend to travelers and the local Indians, whose language she spoke. If you save Tollgate and allow interested parties to rehabilitate the house and the wonderful barn (the lumber is still there), Lucinda's story and legendary hospitality could live on as part of 21st century North Bend.
9. There is public and private money available to compensate the Tollgate owners for their property and transfer title to entities that will preserve it. King County and various land conservancies want to help. Please allow this to happen.
10. It's the right thing to do. Do you want your legacy as planning commissioners to be that you allowed a cultural treasure to be paved, or that you have the vision to say, "There must be a better way!"?