Growth may be inevitable, but the design and rate at which growth occurs should be done with great care. Philomath is not - and may never be - ready to absorb the proposed Lowther and Lahey annexations.
As recent letters indicate, many residents are concerned about the quality of life and economic impacts that would result from a projected 50 percent increase in population. Voters are being asked to decide important issues concerning summer water shortages, traffic congestion and tax increases to expand schools, sewage treatment, law enforcement and other infrastructure without being given sufficient information and time for study and discussion.
There are already a number of annexed properties that have yet to be fully developed. Without knowing the effects of these previous annexations on our community, how can we know what the full impact of the proposed annexations will be and whether we can afford them?
The right to vote - and open access to information with which to make informed decisions - provides each of us with the means to help shape our community and make it a desirable place to live. I urge Philomath residents to take an active role in helping our town grow in a sustainable manner. Please vote 'No' on Measures 02-50 and 02-51.
Keep trees in Forest-Dell annex
As a resident of the Charlemagne Heights neighborhood, the proposed Habitat for Humanity development will be in my backyard.
I can't help but be disturbed by the plan to remove the acres of hilltop trees that dominate our quiet neighborhood in order to squeeze in as many homes, low-income or otherwise, as legally allowed. I am hopeful that Habitat for Humanity will continue to work with current residents to preserve much of the natural beauty of our neighborhood while still providing high-quality, affordable housing. However, members of the wider Corvallis community who dismiss our concerns as merely a "not-in-my-backyard" reflex have done little to build common ground or a sense of shared community.
Growth, expansion of cities is a given
Re: Jo-Ann Taylor's Oct. 25 letter, "Say 'bye-bye' to small-town feel":
I have lived in Philomath for over 45 years. The population back then was 900, and now it more than over 4,000. I am sure that Fred (Lowther) has lived here that long or longer.
Jo-Ann's signature states that she is from Corvallis. Isn't there enough in Corvallis to opine about? Besides, her words indicate that if this annexation is approved, "The whole area would become much more crowded at every library, store, restaurant, park, picnic table, fishing hole, camping spot, favorite beach, desert and mountain spot, etc.!"
Sorry, Jo-Ann, but if every couple has more than two children and the border is open to everyone to cross, it will be that way anyway, and not because of this annexation. Like Fred says, "Growth is a given, annexation or not."
Lowther postcard a 'green-wash'
Philomath will soon choose between annexation and non-annexation. Everyone is focusing on Lowther's proposed 660-home development. Non-annexation possibilities were low on my radar screen, until I got a postcard recently.
It was green, with bicyclists and a lovely landscape. "Philomath Citizens for Responsible Growth" sent it. It read: "Preserve open space in Philomath. Vote YES." "The Lowther family property is going to be developed." "If the measure fails, development will occur without city oversight and without concern for the values of Philomath."
Oh, dear, voting "No" will let the Evil Developers ruin this lovely land!
I looked harder at this thinly veiled threat. I asked questions at City Hall. The Lowther 160 acres are zoned UR-5. This means that without annexation, the parcel size could not be less than five acres, and the homes would have wells and septic systems. Five-acre lots: 32 houses max, without city utilities. No wonder the developers want annexation!
Some of their "generous" 25 acres of open space are wetlands, and couldn't be built on anyway.
Who sent the postcard? A PAC, all legal. The treasurer is a Philomath citizen. Heading the PAC? Butch Busse, from Clackamas, employee of H&R Homes, the Lowther's developer. He addressed City Council Monday. None of his "concerned citizens" were present.
I hate it when developers paint themselves green.
Look after river-bottom farmland; don't pave it over. Someday it may look after you.
To preserve open space just outside Philomath, please vote no on Measure 02-50.
Traffic warrants Kliewer approval
We were among those who spoke against the Kliewer Annexation as it was wending its way through the city's approval processes. Our opposition stems from the continual growth in north Corvallis and lack of a solution to the ever-increasing traffic flows and speeds on Highland Boulevard, the only road to Crescent Valley High School and a shortcut to residential areas and points north.
City engineering staff and police recognize Highland as one of the more dangerous streets in Corvallis and are trying to work with local residents to slow traffic, but have little latitude in improving the situation. What truly needs to happen to relieve high traffic volumes, on Highland Boulevard is extension of other streets to the north, with connection to Lester or Crescent Valley.
Realistically, extension of other streets will not happen until development pays the way - a less than pro-active approach to dealing with a dangerous situation. Until another route north is developed, those of us who live on or near Highland continually pay the price of dealing with traffic volumes and unsafe speeds on a daily basis.
It was a truly uncomfortable situation to speak against the Kliewer Annexation, given the generous donation of park land and the opportunity for affordable housing in such a beautiful setting. Although we still are against development in north Corvallis, for the reasons stated, we will be voting in favor of this annexation and supporting the Kliewer's vision.
Sheila and Mike Schweizer