County Commissioners should postpone hearing and decision on population growth allocations
September 12, 2011 · 6:26 AM
A Board of County Commissioners hearing is set for Monday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. for approval of population growth allocations for the county and all its cities for 2030. The excessive allocations result in perpetuation of urban growth areas twice as large as needed for actual county growth.
This hearing is premature and should be postponed. The recent decision of the Growth Management Hearings Board requires the county to correct errors in the Land Capacity Analysis and downsize Urban Growth Areas countywide. The commissioners should not lock themselves and all citizens into a decision that is financially and environmentally costly prior to making the corrections directed by the Hearings Board. The population allocations should be made in conjunction with this correction and be coordinated with data from the Puget Sound Regional Council and the actual growth data from the 2010 census.
The public’s best interest is not served by holding a hearing and making such an important decision with only a 10-day legal notice, during which county offices were only open on three days. Transparent government and an informed citizenry vanish when the county uses these business practices. Apparently a citizen’s only means of adequate notice was to consult a psychic network. Oh, that’s right; they aren’t available anymore since they failed to see bankruptcy looming in their futures!
The proposed population growth allocation is higher than the state’s intermediate growth projections for 2030, resulting in urban growth areas two times larger than necessary to accommodate the actual county growth rate. Supporting these excessive allocations will cause absolutely unnecessary, long-term sprawl, increased financial and infrastructure costs and unnecessary impacts on sensitive Puget Sound and Hood Canal environments.
The Board of County Commissioners of several years ago selected population growth allocations at the state’s intermediate level population growth projection. Their decision led to greatly oversized Urban Growth Areas, expensive sprawl and excessive environmental damage. The current Board of County Commissioners legacy will be selection of a population projection even higher than the intermediate projection selected by their predecessors and resulting excessive costs of sprawl and environmental damage.
The taxpayers and the environment cannot afford such decisions.