Letters to the Editor for July 26, 2011

Trust mayor and council with reserves

Recently you printed a personal opinion from Washougal City Council member Dave Shoemaker expressing his strong desire that Washougal not use its reserves.

I attend many of the Washougal City Council workshops and formal meetings and I have heard him express his concerns before. As a fiscal conservative myself, I support Mr. Shoemaker’s intentions but not his conclusions.

In the financial upsets of the last couple of years, I, like many others, have suffered a substantial setback. My savings (reserves) are considerably less than they were, but the fiduciaries still say I have years ahead of me. Not knowing the future, I am reluctant to spend without good reason.

Like Washougal City, I live in a well-built, but worn house. There are things that need doing – driveway repair, painting, a new furnace, a new roof. I could do all these and have little left over, or I could hedge my bets. Say for example, I had a leak in my roof. That little drip would run through my attic, wetting the insulation and wooden supports and then go into my bucket and dry up. Why worry? There is little chance of much rain before the middle of September.

The roofers, however, having slow business right now, would be happy to replace my roof – and at a discount!

If, on the other hand, I waited until October when the rains really start, that drip is going to be doing even more damage and the roofers are going to be busy. The same work will cost more.

Same goes for the money in the reserves. No one wants to spend money when things are tight, but if the design and work on the E Street sidewalks is done now, when the men and equipment are in place, the work will cost much less than a year or two from now when the need to do the work will be more pressing. The workers and equipment will have to be re-collected at greater expense.

Anyone can see that development is pressing to the east. It doesn’t end at the commercial centers on 164th Avenue or even 192nd Avenue. There is development heading well into The Gorge. The state may be appear to be expanding SR14 for the current benefit of the residents of C-W, but the plan is really for future access to Stevenson and east.

I am told that there are desirable stores and businesses that would love to come to Washougal if and when the infrastructure they need is completed. This will take money, but in return, that money invested, will develop Washougal in both jobs and the quality of life. Would you not like to have a local shopping center like the one at SR14 and Grand Boulevard? That area was just a big field for all the years I have been here. Now it is an income producer for Vancouver City.

Let’s trust our reserves to the capable hands of Washougal City Mayor Sean Guard and Councilors. They care too.

Marilyn Tyrrell, Washougal

Event center isn’t good for the neighborhood

There have been misconceptions regarding opposition of the Farrell House event center that I’d like to clarify. Due to limited space, I’m unable to address each matter, but have highlighted some key points.

With few exceptions, all residents surrounding the Farrell House are opposed to this project. After scouring the neighborhood, there are only a few who are in favor of it, some of whom have financial interests in its success.

The majority of supporters don’t live in the neighborhood and aren’t affected the way the residents are. Some don’t even live in Camas. Many stand to gain financially, for example, by providing catering services, overnight accommodations, assisting in interior design, decor, architecture and landscaping.

If the home and landscaping were simply being renovated, then yes, it seems that would increase property values of adjacent homes. But making it a commercial venue where events will be held would deter people from purchasing in the neighborhood, regardless of whether it is also used as a residence. If at the time the Farrell House was an event center, we wouldn’t have purchased our home.

If anyone has ever thrown a party, you know how quickly things get carried away. How do you control the noise and behavior of up to 100 people?

The application packet states events will be limited to “36 hours in a 28 day period.” A 28 day period consists of four weekends and since the packet also states that larger events would be “held on weekend afternoons primarily” 36 hours could be divided up into two 4.5 hour events every weekend, perhaps on Saturday/Sunday afternoons. This is also when residents wish to enjoy the serenity of their homes and outdoors.

If the Farrell House is allowed to become an event center, it will set a precedent for other businesses to also infringe upon our neighborhood.

Please put yourselves in the shoes of the neighborhood residents. Readers and supporters should ask themselves two questions:

How would you feel if this were happening in your neighborhood?

Would you purchase a home next to an event center?

Mike and Jennifer Ludwig, Evergreen Terrace residents

Proposal for Farrell House will hurt neighborhood

I am a long-time resident of our city, and I am writing to express my concern about the application of the conditional use permit at the Farrell House. I understand that the decision is being considered to turn the House into an event center.

However, I do not believe that the benefits of a center such as this compare favorably to the benefits of keeping our neighborhood a quiet and residential area. Consider: the traffic (both foot and vehicle) would increase significantly. This change in zoning would not be compatible with the quiet residential neighborhood that now exists.

It would seem that opening up the Farrell House to the public would bring increased growth, and thus a better economy, to our city. However, the cost to our quality of life in our quaint tree lined Evergreen Terrace Neighborhood is too high a cost to make. Loud music, lots of traffic, overflowing parking situations, and alcohol related issues are all likely possibilities. These factors will, in my opinion, decrease surrounding property values and in the long run not be beneficial to our city. Are all these trade-offs part of the plan we really want to be part of?

Please, not in my neighborhood.

Amy Parent, Evergreen Terrace resident

No event center in Evergreen Terrace

I wish to express my concerns over the planned special use permit submitted for consideration regarding the Farrell House in Camas.

I am a 12 year resident of Camas. Our neighborhood has the qualities that are sought after by homeowners. It is quiet, within walking distance of the downtown commercial area, and our neighbors are respectful. The traffic is light. Those who live in the neighborhood or who are attending one of the nearby churches seem to be the only ones on our streets. Summer evenings are filled with the sounds of birds, neighbors chatting on front porches but more often just silence.

I am troubled by the possibility the Farrell House will turn into a commercial destination for parties for up to 100 people. If the special use permit is approved, I fear our neighborhood would be quite changed.

A quiet residential neighborhood will have taken a step in the wrong direction. A precedent will be set for yet more incompatible commercial uses. There are no assurances that our quiet, residential neighborhood won’t be permanently altered for the benefit of a single homeowner. The few business owners in the downtown core area who believe their businesses may be benefited in some small way by this endeavor is negligible. This conditional use permit is in in my estimation too high a cost.

The purpose for zoning is to protect the essence of a particular area.

This is a very commercial use in a very residential neighborhood.

Al Balsiger, Camas

Camas Days is a success

Another successful Camas Days has come and gone. I would personally like to recognize Brent Erickson and Chandra Chase for all the hard work they do.

People don’t realize what it takes for the two of them to put this on. Yes they have a board and we shake our head “yes” or “no” and volunteer where and when needed. But it is two people who do the majority of the work.

I was a spotter on Saturday night watching the vendors take down. One vendor who travels all over said this is by far the best festival she has ever been to. She said “the teens were respectful, no one tried to rip us off.You have great parents here for the way the children behaved.” This vendor makes her own jewelry.

The second vendor I talked to said it was their first time here and it was the best festival they had been to as well. No one was rude or disorderly to them. The events they have been to don’t compare to Camas. When I said it was only two people who do the applications and the placing of vendors, they were blown away.

A sincere thank you to Brent and Chandra and all the volunteers and the “parents” raising respectful and responsible young adults.

Melissa Smith, Councilwoman

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