Fast Focus: Emotionally charged issue

October 7, 2012 

MELVIN FOSTER, Pasco

Setting aside the overtones of a personal vendetta or individual personality conflicts, it seems to me that this proposal is not sufficiently thought through and many questions remain.

I am incredulous that a "code city" could adequately serve the needs of the majority of the residents. Would it really be possible to contract for building permits and inspections? Though it might be possible to obtain fire and police protection on a contract basis, what about prosecution of violators of municipal codes (or aren't we going to have any such codes)? Will we have a municipal court without any buildings? At what cost will these services come? Will there be any economy of scale?

I am certain that the future will bring change. Forming a new city would not guarantee the current zoning on property will remain, nor would it necessarily result in any changes.

Some zoning restrictions are desirable. I don't think there are many who would like to have a slaughterhouse operating next door to their residence. I don't think there are many who would like to have a neighbor with 50 head of cattle on a one-acre lot. I don't think that I want unlimited number of pets of any kind living next door. Nor do I want dangerous exotic pets in the yard next door.

How much of these type of activities should be "grandfathered" in? Would there be a "dead" period between the establishment of the new city and establishment of services?

The claim has been made that costs will be the same or less than currently paid, and will be more if Pasco annexes the area. But this seems unproven with plenty of bickering about what the costs are now and what they might be in the future. Perhaps in the education process we could see a comparison of costs between current and if we were annexed to Pasco that is agreed to by both parties. It would be very helpful.

It seems that much of the arguments are all emotion and little common sense. The area has been designated as an urban growth area under the state's Growth Management Act since 1992, and the city of Pasco extended water and sewer services to the area with obvious eventual annexation in mind. Part of the price of obtaining these services is, and has been, signing a power of attorney for a vote in favor of annexation. It is said that this is coercion, but it seems to me more like buyer's remorse. There were several legal alternatives available to the applicant, including not moving to property in this area. Another part of the price of obtaining city water is paying 140 percent of the water price charged to city residents. If Pasco's long-term plan of annexation is thwarted by legal machinations, what would keep them from raising the price to 200 or 300 percent or more for residents in the area? And why would they not!

Give some assurances

I understand as well as anyone the desire to maintain the lifestyle in the doughnut hole but fear the creation of a new city may prove unworkable.

I've lived a good part of my 58 years in the "doughnut hole." I grew up in it, moved out for most of the 70s, moved back, was annexed into the city and have recently moved back into the doughnut hole.

I had no complaints when my previous home was annexed into the city. I was in an established neighborhood with no undeveloped land and no potential for further development. There was no discernible change to the neighborhood with annexation.

I decided it was time for a return to the rural lifestyle I grew up with. I bought a half acre lot, thankfully the county requires residential building lots of no less than one-half acre, and built a new home. It's great to be back in the county with a mix of small farms, cornfields, orchards and homes on large lots.

I believe the root concern of those opposed to annexation is the threat of smaller lot sizes the city will allow with the availability of city sewer. High density housing -- anything more than one single family residence per half acre, in this context, is unacceptable. Current residents are rightfully concerned. With few exceptions, city councils overwhelmingly side with developers over the wishes of neighborhood residents when developers lobby for smaller lot sizes. Rumors are rampant. "An apartment complex is planned for that cornfield." "An unprincipled council member will financially benefit from a land sale after annexation."

Anyone living next to undeveloped land understands the potential for that land to be developed. Assurance more meaningful than a vague "the building lots won't be that much smaller" would go a long way toward alleviating current residents concerns.

-- ROBERT BRADFORD, Pasco

Times have changed

This seems a little crazy. A small group of people in the area referred to as the doughnut hole in Pasco do not want to be annexed into a city, soooo ... to preserve their rural lifestyle, they are going to form a city? Somehow this doesn't make sense.

We have lived in this doughnut hole area for 43 years and have enjoyed the rural lifestyle. We also have actively resisted annexation. However, things have changed. The road that my sons learned to ride their bikes on is now so busy I have trouble getting out of the driveway. Many people have moved out to this area, and it is time to adapt. The city of Pasco has systems in place for all governing functions. Police, fire and ambulance departments are already established as well as park departments and road departments.

The predicted chaos involved in this small minority setting up any kind of functioning government sends chills down my spine. The expense will be tremendous and, despite what some of these people say, there is no way volunteers can handle tax records, court systems and dispatching of police, fire and ambulance.

-- JUDY ANDERSON, Pasco

Let me vote

As a resident of the "doughnut hole" in West Pasco it seems to be implied that the people who live here are selfish, greedy and only want to take advantage of the all the city of Pasco has to offer.

What services we get from the city we pay for, and many do not get water or sewer from the city. Not all signed an agreement to get services. Most of us would like to be left alone. We would like to stay in the county, but the city is pushing to annex so we feel compelled to push back.

The city would like to "give" me LIDs, more density, more traffic (like the mess on Road 68) and more regulations. I don't want them to "give" me anything. I don't like the Obama/Crutchfield method, where they decide what's best for us because we aren't smart enough to decide for ourselves. There may be more people in the "doughnut hole" who want to be in the city, that's democracy, but we want a chance to vote.

Last I looked, this was still America. I've got my "big girl panties" on and would like a vote on my future.

-- SHARON HARMON, Pasco

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