have no say
On May 21, Philomath City Council hastily approved a 166-acre subdivision north of Chapel Drive, ignoring the concerns of Philomath citizens.
As reported by the Philomath Express, city officials worked with the developers behind closed doors for four months. Residents became aware of this development only a couple weeks before the public hearing, allowing scant time for preparation.
The subdivision is being pitched as "affordable housing." This ignores the tens of millions of dollars that will be brought in for the few who share in the profits, while everyone else in Philomath suffers.
The developers will pay $3.8 million in fees; however, this will not cover the full costs to the city. The remainder will be subsidized by Philomath taxpayers.
The impact of this subdivision must be considered in the context of two large apartment complexes being built in Philomath and additional housing being built in the Chapel Drive area. The population of Philomath is likely to increase by 25 percent in the near term. Where is the infrastructure — water, police, fire, schools — to support such rapid and uncoordinated growth?
The Philomath School District enrolls 1,572 students. A 25 -percent increase in enrollment would mean about 393 additional students. Can the school handle this influx without expensive school bonds? And what would 25 percent more cars on the road do to your commute?
The developers and city council also glossed over possible contamination of the subdivision site by toxic chemicals. Testing results to date are being kept secret, with additional testing proceeding to a total of 68 pits being dug for analysis.
What are 68 pits over a 31.2-acre site? This analysis of only about two pits per acres does not seem adequate for a property with 35 years of industrial use. Are there chemicals in the soil that will blow over the area as dust is generated during construction?
In her excellent May 30 letter to the editor, Ann Buell discusses how members of the Philomath City Council voted against citizen interests. The only council member who voted with residents was Eric Niemann. If Philomath residents want to take back control, it's important that the 2018 election for Philomath City Council and mayor be competitive.
If you are interested in running for office, filing begins June 11. Contact Ruth Post, city recorder, for details.