Philomath Letter to Editor logo

Consider attending

city council meetings

Dear Editor:

I would like to see residents regularly attend city council meetings and other meetings of local government.

There was a time when citizens felt this was their duty, worthy of priority. Yes, elected representatives will make the decisions, yet the presence of the public makes a difference. We can educate ourselves, learn what and how things are happening and why, and encourage those who work for us about our interests instead of leaving it for highly paid special interests.

Let's be witnesses in person and follow through on civic duties for which we now are indeed responsible. Too often residents only show up when something affects us enough personally, usually too late to fully participate in the process, and are disheartened by our lack of impact.

If we're present on a regular basis, we will gain understanding without vitriol. Folks can bring knitting or even snooze a bit. We will still absorb something to our benefit about and with the community. What affects neighbors will also affect oneself in the long run. There are other ways, as well as the military, to serve one's country. Being present is the first step.

Judy Hays-Eberts


Reject Chapel

housing project

Dear Editor:

Philomath voters rejected the Chapel Drive (Lowther) annexation in 2005 and 2006. Our committee of 26 Philomath residents (Grow Philomath Sensibly) urges voters to reject this annexation once again, due to the poorly prepared plan that is unchanged since 2005.

The developers’ plan for 660 houses is based on analyses made 10-15 years ago. For example, the traffic impact analysis was completed in 2005. Much greater demand on Highway 20/34 during peak hours now results in extreme slowdowns. If the Chapel Drive property is developed, there will be additional congestion in Philomath and surrounding neighborhoods.

Philomath’s water supply is adequate only for the current population without updating treatment facilities, adding storage or utilizing alternative sources. During the summer, the Marys River can run below minimum required flow rates causing Philomath to use stored water and/or purchase water from Corvallis. Severe drought would exacerbate this situation.

Continuing to rely on Corvallis to supply water places Philomath’s needs in others’ hands. Water quality and quantity must be addressed before increasing Philomath’s population.

Developers make promises to the public and city officials, then change their plans to maximize profit. The developers’ conceptual plan is nonbinding. It is common knowledge that after the Chapel Drive property is annexed, a rezoning request will be made to increase the number of homes. Residents do not get a vote on rezoning requests.

Conceptual plans are inadequate to insure that livability in Philomath isn’t jeopardized. Vote no on Measure 2-102 to preserve our small-town qualities and prevent severe impact on essential city services.

Tina White


Millersburg officials

support developers

Dear Editor:

Philomath citizens: We’ve had the pleasure of working with Butch Busse since 2004 here in Millersburg. His company, H&R Homes, has developed several large subdivisions here in our community.

His projects have enhanced Millersburg and they have brought a diverse selection of housing opportunities here in our town. He has always worked with the city and held our community in the highest standard. They have created homes that have enhanced our livability and provided opportunities for new families to move to our town.

Butch Busse and Mike Agee formed Millersburg Land and Development Co., two years ago and currently have three projects under construction or planned to construct here in Millersburg.

They are continuing to provide housing and have brought in several new builders who are building high-quality homes from entry level to second-time homebuyers. They have complied with all conditions set up during development of their projects and have added value to the town through additional improvements paid for by their development or arterial streets bordering their projects.

Millersburg has benefited over the 12-plus years that they have been developing homes for our town. The city has received a valuable boost to its ability to provide newer parks and city services to the community through a collection of system development charges that we get to collect on every home built.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with Millersburg Land & Development in the years to come.

Clayton Wood, mayor

Barbara Castillo, city administrator/recorder


Once annexed,

it’s done deal

Dear Editor:

If the Chapel Drive/Lowther annexation — 2-102 on your ballot — passes we can’t go back. Five years from now, when the pie in the sky promises aren’t kept, with hundreds more cars on the roads, we have a water crisis, our property taxes have gone up, not down, and the developers are long gone, it’s too late.

Once this land is annexed it’s a done deal. The only thing we have in writing is the ballot measure — read it. It’s the only promise they are agreeing to, no matter what you’re told.

These folks are doing this to make money, not to help Philomath. They plan to make millions and spend as little as possible doing so.

The scale of this annexation is beyond imagining. Picture the population of Waldport plunked down in the middle of Philomath, needing sewers, water and schools. That is the equivalent population that this proposed annexation will bring — 660 houses equals 2,640 people, give or take. It’s a small city, not a development.

Unlike the rosy, unsubstantiated picture painted by the developers, we have done our homework. What we have is facts not fantasy — it’s not as pretty, so is harder to sell.

The picture is grim. Philomath doesn’t have the infrastructure to support an annexation of this size — even half this size. One-thousand, two-hundred-plus additional cars on Philomath Boulevard? I phoned the Oregon Department of Transportation and they have no plan to improve it.

The water situation is bleak now – and going to get bleaker if we add 660 new yards and gardens, 2,500-plus people taking showers, flushing toilets, etc. Where does this water come from? Who pays for it? You and me!

2-102 would be a disaster to Philomath. There is much to be learned and done before even considering such an annexation. Vote no.

Terry Weiss


In opposition

to development

Dear Editor:

Some Philomath residents seem to blindly trust that city council will protect their interests if the Chapel Drive/Lowther annexation is approved.

Please don’t be naïve. Time and again, I’ve seen city leaders fail to complete prudent studies before backing development, or fail to do critical long-term planning.

For example, when the newer houses on Neabeack Hill were proposed, hydrologists and other scientists testified about the risks of erosion and wet basements. The city planning commission voted five minutes later, ignoring the experts’ predictions. Now those warnings are coming true.

As another example, 30 years ago, Philomath almost lost its city charter because it was in dire straits over water supply and sewage treatment. We were able to build a new facility, but only because the water and sewer commission and volunteers convinced voters to pass bond levies.

Fast forward to 2016. Philomath leaders have had decades to secure an adequate water supply and other resources for population growth, but nothing has been done.

It was irresponsible for the planning commission and city council to send this annexation to the ballot without insisting on studies about its impact on water, traffic, schools, public safety and more.

Ignoring data seems to be a pattern as well as ignoring the fact that this annexation was voted down twice by large margins.

Experience with other Philomath sites suggests that if the annexation is approved, the planning commission and city council will not necessarily consider voter input while planning for housing.

Philomath can and should grow, but the growth needs to be sensible.

Development should be well-planned, not explosive or densely compressed into two parcels of land. It should not create a burden to current and future residents. It should be based on adequate resources, commerce and jobs. It should enrich our lives.

Beware — once land is annexed, the voters lose all control. Anything can happen. Voting no is our safety net. Please vote no on Measure 2-102.

Holly Bendixen


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