Philomath Letter to Editor logo

Traffic study

before rezoning

Dear Editor:

The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech ...."

However, at the June 19 meeting of the Philomath Planning Commission, the city planner and the deputy city attorney felt free to direct commissioners not to speak of topics of traffic and water in relation to a proposed development a block off Highway 20.

In a previous meeting, regarding the Skirvin annexation, the city planner told commissioners, "Really, there's only one way you can vote." Although, in this case, I, personally liked his directive, it was wholly improper for him to give it. Staff is there to answer questions. The commissioners are there to discuss and decide.

Also at the June 19 meeting, Mountain West, the development group seeking the zoning change (to build 250-350 apartments) near the highway, presented misleading "data." They paid an engineer to compare traffic problems "if" the property were developed as "industrial" versus “if” it is developed for high-density housing.

Neither of these scenarios exist currently, so there is nothing to compare with any accuracy. The accurate comparison would be to traffic as it currently is (reality) compared to how much worse it would be if apartments are built. What Mountain West presented was what my old statistics teacher called "garbage in, garbage out," data. Numbers based on a fantasy.

The highway between Philomath and Corvallis is a train wreck at all times of day, not just rush hour. What's needed is a comprehensive, independent traffic study, before any rezoning is considered.

Mark Weiss



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