More HUD housing in Gig Harbor needed
I moved to Gig Harbor with my family in the 1960s from Portland, Oregon. At that time we discovered this quaint little fishing town with a toll bridge and fell in love with it.
We joined a church, bought our first home and raised our children here. We also opened up Gig Harbor’s first survey business.
When the toll went off the first bridge, we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for those who wanted to move here. In all honesty, it was upsetting to see all of these trees being removed. At this time a HUD apartment building was developed and the surrounding trees were left in place as well as a green belt.
This same HUD building is being remodeled this summer.
I am enjoying my retirement in beautiful Gig Harbor.
My question is: Why aren’t builders building anymore HUD homes for those who would enjoy living here?
Betty Thornton Aliesch, Gig Harbor
MARIJUANA ON THE BALLOT AGAIN
If you have Nonbinding Advisory Vote No. 1 on your ballot, please vote “yes.” You voted on this back in 2012 as Initiative 502 Marijuana Reform and it passed decisively with the support of parents, law enforcement, pastors, teachers, coaches and seniors. Last December a bi-partisan Pierce County Council, with public input, voted again in favor of marijuana and added protections like proper placement of marijuana businesses and giving law enforcement the funds to keep the illegal pot shops away. Marijuana is on your ballot again due to personal and political agendas. But this time, it will cost tax payers $425,000 to vote again, and it will be non-binding, meaning it does not even change any laws. That $425,000 could have gone to needed law enforcement in our rural areas, dealing with the homeless problem and repairing bridges and boat launches. In 2015 there was a marijuana bust in Gig Harbor — one of the biggest in Pierce County history — right next to a childcare center. The Pierce County Sheriff’s department said the marijuana grow was the work of organized criminals from outside the country. As a parent in an unincorporated part of our community, I ask you to support common sense and again, vote yes on the Nonbinding Advisory Vote No. 1.
John Jolibois, Fox Island
COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER RESPONDS
I’m writing to respond to Ms. Jeni Woock’s letter (Gateway, March 23) regarding the Puget Sound Regional Council’s certification of the City of Gig Harbor’s Comprehensive Plan.
I represent Pierce County on the Growth Management Policy Board, which is tasked with regional land use policy in the four county Central Sound area, and more specifically, the certification process. In her letter, Ms. Woock suggests that the conditional approval received by the city was a rebuke of their planning. In fact, PSRC staff is very complimentary of the city’s policies and staff.
It’s true the city received a conditional approval, but unlike many jurisdictions who are openly flouting the regional plan or Growth Management Act (GMA), this is the result of a change in PSRC policies rather than Gig Harbor’s actions. On her blog, Ms. Woock states: “Derek Young appeared on this video with the PSRC and agreed it was poor planning that got GH into this mess.” That’s true, but I was referring to PSRC and Pierce County’s poor planning, not the city’s.
For years the city begged PSRC to reduce its growth targets. Those are the numbers local jurisdictions must plan for and ultimately determines the amount of density it must allow. After years of pushing growth to each city more evenly, PSRC decided to “bend the trend” towards larger metropolitan cities like Tacoma.
Unfortunately, this lower growth target came too late for Gig Harbor as much of the buildable land in the city had already vested. When I spoke, it was in defense of the city and the unfairness of a conditional approval, which is essentially the fault of PSRC’s regional growth planning, not the other way around.
It’s completely understandable for people to be concerned by the explosion of growth, particularly because its concentration is different than the historic pattern in our community. But in order to protect rural lands, that old way of doing business is now prohibited understand state law and regional growth plans.
If you want to know more about growth policy, I’ll be writing more in the coming weeks at https://medium.com/@derekmyoung. You can always feel free to call at 253-798-7776.
Derek M. Young, Pierce County Council member District #7, represents the Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor, Ruston and parts of North and West Tacoma