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!

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