Questions surround debate over farm land | Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Some thoughts after reading the City Council workshop meeting notes of May 2, 2015. Notes regarding the Thomas farm property located next to state Route 410 on the outskirts of Enumclaw. There was another meeting on July 6 regarding this same purpose. People could attend the meeting but there was no opportunity to comment, hence this letter to the editor.

Concerning the Thomas farm and the rightful use of that property: the county did not solicit farmers for the sale of development rights. Farmers asked to be included. The Thomases were well compensated. If the county should have purchased their development rights may be a proper question. As for 1,000 cows, they say they need to be profitable, that is not the norm for this area. Let the Thomases sell the property for agriculture and move. They have options.

The purpose of the sale of development rights was to not only keep land in agriculture, but to keep the price of agricultural lands affordable for the next generation. They were compensated for giving up their right to develop to a different use.

Four hundred new houses in Enumclaw, someone is going to have to feed them. Let’s not be short-sighted and do away with another piece of Enumclaw’s farmland. The Thomas farm is a historical farm, once called Good Hope Dairy, always near the city of Enumclaw.

I do not understand the designation of this land being zoned Industrial and if there is to be a change of zoning, I support a change to agriculture zoning. A market for local products could be an attractive addition for the frontage, if the farm was divided and sold to smaller farmers. However, with the current buildings in place it would be a costly venture.

Another question, with the development rights sold, was it sold with the option of having four additional houses/barns, one on each of the four lots? A question for the county.

There has been a growth in smaller diversified farms on small acreages which are supplying locally-grown food. There is a demand for this type of land at an affordable farming price, the goal of the Farmland Preservation program. Will it succeed?

A fellow dairyman, with their development rights sold.

Janet A. Baker