A vote against
Philomath voters should vote no on Measure 2-102. This is the measure that would annex the Lowther property that borders Applegate Street and Chapel Drive.
The proposal is for 660 homes which would raise Philomath’s population by 35 to 50 percent, depending on whose numbers you believe. Here are the reasons this is a bad idea:
1. Philomath is already maxed out in water use. We use every drop we have. We can’t possibly support this massive development. In addition, the water treatment plant is at maximum capacity and water storage is inadequate, now, for a catastrophic fire. The cost for buying water and creating a new treatment plant would run to many millions.
2. The out-of-town developers could develop the land right now, but they would have to dig, and pay for, new wells. Annexation would put the costs of water (plus additional police, fire and other services) on the citizens, instead of themselves. They want to maximize profits by putting costs onto the rest of us.
3. Oregon Department of Transportation wrote to the Philomath planning commission that our roads are not adequate for this massive development. When my wife called ODOT, they told her there is no plan to increase the highway from Philomath to Corvallis. None. Imagine 1,200 to 1,300 more cars at the highway and 53rd Street.
4. Philomath has no jobs for the people that would move here, and Corvallis certainly doesn’t have 1,200-1,300 jobs available. So this annexation puts the cart before the horse in that homeowners need jobs. Our city has done nothing about job creation and that must happen first. No one keeps a home without work. No one!
5. There is an erroneous notion that building homes will help our schools. This is false. Homes without jobs creates a transient, slum-like, environment that is very hard on schools. And, growing schools is risky. Every bit of research on school size says that small schools are safer and, generally, more effective with students. Schools do better when they are small. Certainly they do better when families are stable.
6. Philomath already has annexed property. If we want to grow we don’t need this reckless and irresponsible development. We just need to use the annexed land we already have; some to create jobs, and some for homes. This is what the city of Lebanon did. They courted, and won, a veteran’s facility and a medical school, and once there were jobs then, and only then, did they begin building homes.
We don’t need to pay for these developers to make millions and leave town, leaving our community with a financial disaster that we may never recover from.
No water, no jobs, no roads? No on 2-102