Is development worth losing greenspace? | Politics in Focus

Think about what you feel as you drive east on state Route 410 Enumclaw and head up the hill above the fieldhouse and the golf course. Look off to your right (south) and you see a beautiful forest with thousands of trees. Hancock Timber owns that property.

Think about what you feel as you drive east on state Route 410 Enumclaw and head up the hill above the fieldhouse and the golf course. Look off to your right (south) and you see a beautiful forest with thousands of trees. Hancock Timber owns that property.

In your mind, drive that same road a few years from now after Hancock Timber has sold that forest to a developer. Think of Bonney Lake with its strip malls and housing developments. That’s the potential if King County decides not to buy up the development rights for 43,000 acres from Hancock Timber for $11.1 million.

The County Council will vote on this issue April 29. Their decision will determine whether your view will look like it does now or whether it might become more urban sprawl.

The city of Enumclaw has recently annexed several pieces of property near Thunder Mountain Middle School and along 244th by the airport. We also have the area to the west of 244th (the Big West), which is part of our growth management plan expansion area. We have lots of room to grow. We don’t need to worry about destroying a pristine forest and recreation area east of town.

I love this town because it’s one of the few real cohesive communities in Puget Sound. We have our Fourth of July parade, the homecoming parade, the Loggers’ Legacy statue and great parks. We have a sense of pride in being a rural community. I want to preserve Enumclaw’s charm.

I am afraid that if the Hancock property east of town were allowed to develop into a residential community it would split the community in two and destroy that charm. We’d potentially have hundreds if not thousands of people who live on the plateau above us. We’d have no control over the growth because it’s outside the city limits.

Just look at Kent. When I was growing up in Renton in the 1950s and 1960s, I thought Kent was a beautiful small town in the valley. What happened is that development took off on the hill to the east. It grew until it’s population was greater than downtown. Now Kent has two parts of their city that are not well connected. That sense of community that Kent once had has been lost due to urban sprawl.

On a different but related issue, the concern expressed by a letter to the editor about King County buying up development rights to the Thomas farm just north and slightly east of Safeway is a valid point. King County did come in and buy up the development rights inside the Enumclaw city limits. They shouldn’t have done this. Now, they don’t want to give development rights back to the city because if they do, they fear it would open the gates to lawsuits over purchased development rights throughout the rest of the county. The county doesn’t want to go down that road. I can understand their concerns. It’s complicated.

In my view, the King County Council will be making a good decision if they vote to buy up development rights for the Hancock Timber forestland east of Enumclaw on April 29. It’s in the best interest of Enumclaw for them to do so.

It’s my guess that the whole issue about the Hancock Timber land has already been decided. Negotiations between King County and Hancock Timber have been going on for months. The Council already has a negotiated contract with Hancock Timber to sell development rights. The County Council is just waiting for the vote to seal the deal.

More in Opinion

America is denying three hard truths

There are three major hard truths that our current government has been denying with great vigor: The Mueller Russia-U.S. Presidential election connection investigation, the war in Afghanistan, and the growing national deficit.

Promote the common good by ensuring individual liberty

Citizens following their passions and dreams improve the lot for all.

The three personas of President Trump

There’s Teleprompter Trump, Raw Meat Trump and Twitter Trump.

Carbon pricing won’t help environment, but will hurt taxpayers

How would a Washington carbon tax make a difference in the world “climate?”

It’s never enough

Based on numbers from the legislature, Enumclaw School District will be receiving huge funding increases from the state. Yet here we are with Enumclaw and a bunch of other districts telling the taxpayers, give us more, we need more.

Why are trailers allowed at Expo Center?

When my husband and I moved to our home in 2001 and for every year after the Expo Center grounds have always been pleasant to look at on your way to our home. No longer is this true.

Columnist sheds light on Koch brothers

Our economy, along with our political system, is broken and indeed destroying our democracy.

Letter writer cites no evidence for claims

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Attitudes change on farming non-native salmon

Their warnings fell on deaf ears, but the tables have turned on the fish farming industry in Washington.

Humility allows for tolerance of other’s opinions

Each of us has grown up in different circumstances. Each has been shaped by our life experiences. Each of us sees the world around us differently as a result. Why, then, should it be so difficult to understand that no two people will agree on every issue?

President Trump working toward the vision of our Founders

President Trump is working to return power and liberty to the people.

Culture, politics have and continue to shape race relations

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”