Public lost valuable benefits from clear-cut
Trees, tall ones especially, provide valuable services to our community as no other amenity does: they filter and clean the air, absorb CO2 and exude oxygen, slow the pelting rain so the soils have a chance to absorb it, allow for aquifer recharge, shield noises and provide quiet, improve the view humans prize, naturally cool us in the summer and shelter us from freezing winds in winter, all the while providing habitat and shelter for wildlife on the move.
Trees provide a buffer between developing and established properties. The required buffer width is merely a political compromise. When developers clear cut, they should be required to first assess the actual width needed to assure the buffer trees’ survival. Eyes-on-the-ground and thoughtful design of open space/vegetated corridors should be required to avoid an event such as the tragic death on Borgen Blvd during last fall’s windstorm.
Nevertheless, only a few months after one accident, the city of Gig Harbor heedlessly mowed 80-year-old trees to the narrowest edge of Peacock Hill required by law. The results were predictable. The glorious tall trees lining Peacock Hill Road were soon after declared a safety hazard, and sacrificed in “an abundance of caution.”
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The public needlessly lost valuable benefits from those signature trees. Alternatives were available to the city. Trees could have been trimmed, “wind-sailed,” or the buffer zone shape could have been re-designed.
Can we not learn from sad experience and do a better job of ensuring the amenities bestowed by our tall trees?
Lucinda Wingard, Gig Harbor
State says city has failed to prove its plan for the future
In a public meeting on March 3, the state of Washington formally agreed with Gig Harbor citizens that growth is out of control in Gig Harbor and appropriate planning for future growth does not exist.
In 2015 the state of Washington through the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) sent a message to Gig Harbor to make rules to limit growth and those zoning rules should promote the character of a small town. The state advised Gig Harbor to plan for the infrastructure before allowing more growth.
Cities around Puget Sound create a comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan is a statement of goals and policies that direct the development of a city into the future. This comprehensive plan should anticipate change and provide specific guidance for future legislative and administrative actions within the city.
Washington state said Gig Harbor has failed to prove it is planning for the future. Gig Harbor has failed to prove it is planning for limited growth and has no plans to handle the traffic and infrastructure before allowing more growth.
On March 3, Washington state, through the Puget Sound Regional Council, said NO to fully approving our Gig Harbor Comprehensive Plan. The PSRC determined our mayor and city council have refused to put regulations in place to demonstrate they are planning for a healthy, safe and functioning Gig Harbor for the future.
You will find more details at Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor blogspot.
Jeni Woock, Gig Harbor
The Peninsula Gateway accepts guest columns up to 600 words and letters to the editor up to 250 words. Priority consideration is given to those who live on the Gig Harbor or Key peninsulas. Letters and columns should be submitted by 5 p.m. on the Friday prior to the next publication. The Peninsula Gateway reserves the right to edit for space, style and potentially libelous material. To submit a letter or column, email firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred), or mail it to: Letters to the Editor, 3226 Rosedale St., Gig Harbor, WA 98335.