Molalla City Council: Wake up and smell your FAILURE!

“We can lie to ourselves about many things, but if we lie about our relationship to the land, the land itself will suffer, and soon we and all other creatures that share the land will suffer.” Scott Russell Sanders

Over a 100 acres of polluted, abandoned brownfield mill site in Molalla,Oregon

 

Open letter to Molalla City Council, 4/8/2011

Molalla City Councilors,

As we head for the the final DENY from the BCC on the urban reserve, I am amused that most of you seem to believe that Molalla “planning’ has produced anything that resembles an adoptable complete “comp plan”. Even uncoupled from the urban reserve, your so-called “comp plan” lacks the detail necessary to be adopted by LCDC.

Time alone is a killer of reports. The so-called “reports” in your “comp plan” have
languished so long they are no longer a reflection of current economic or social
conditions. I could go on about what is lacking but it is far better to provide an example
of what you are up against – below is a link to the Damascus Comp Plan (produced by a city close to the population of Molalla) which will be considered for adoption by LCDC at the end of April.

This document is LIGHT YEARS away from the flimsy, convoluted, outdated mess Molalla pretends is a “comp plan”. Damascus doesn’t even bother to try to project population, let alone beg for an urban reserve. Damascus focuses on producing a SUSTAINABLE community that honors resources and accepts the mandate for compact, smart growth and for CONSERVATION.

Check out all the “agency partners ” listed in the front pages – Damascus WORKED WITH those agencies, it didn’t try to trick or fool or fight against the very agencies that
have a stake in adoption. Molalla was urged long ago to work WITH Clackamas County – but look at the adversarial relationship you have created with the very County that needs to approve your “plans”. What a waste of everyone’s time and most of all, of public money.

Time and money invested by Molalla counts for ZERO in this process – only legally
defensible content counts. I hope none of you ever again whine about the time/money
invested – that was Molalla’s fault for not listening and for focusing on 50 year nonsense
instead of on a SUSTAINABLE PLAN.

Here is the link to a REAL COMP PLAN – it will be interesting to see if even this is
accepted by LCDC, since the Damascus website explains that there could be
corrections/additions needed after the LCDC hearing. Read this document cover to cover and then read what you are pretending you could submit as a Molalla “comp plan”:

http://ci.damascus.or.us/References/Misc/FINAL%20AdptComp%20PlanOrd22010-45-121410.pdf

And,  smack dab in the middle of the City of Damascus webpage is – hold your breath – an OPINION from a City Councilor about the COST OF GROWTH and how much each new house builder should pay toward SDCs. That figure is, per this Councilor, a whopping $29,000 a house.

Molalla blew it during the boom  – and continues to blow it in terms of SDCs needed for
infrastructure. I laughed at the hearing when pathetic “lawyer” Crean tried to rebut my assertion that Molalla created an artificial boom via the low/no SDC stuff em’ in boom era; it seems facts don’t lie – your budget sports next to no funds for infrastructure improvements and you are about to try to dun your citizen taxpayers to fix their own roads, further burdening a community that has more than double the state rate of foreclosures.  SDCs – realistic, market rate SDCs – are essential for a SUSTAINABLE CITY.

Here’s the opinion of a Damascus City Councilor, posted on the CITY WEBSITE SITE right next to the links to the Comp Plan and with an account of  the LDCD comp plan adoption process  (should we check to see if the mayor called this Councilor on the carpet for having an OPINION AND TALKING TO THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED HIM? And he talks about ASKING THE VOTERS!! ):

Building a City: How much will it cost and who should pay for it? _By Councilor Randy Shannon _

Building a city can be compared with building a new home. When building a home you start with a budget based on a location and approximate size. When the citizens voted to
incorporate Damascus, this determined the size and location for our new city. In 2007,
Anne Fifield of Johnson Gardner prepared an estimate of 906 million dollars for the basic
city infrastructure, (roads, drinking water, waste water, storm water and parks). This is
a budget based on the size of Damascus. A detailed budget for each of the basic city
infrastructure elements will be developed over the next two years. First a master plan for what is required will be developed. Then a list of projects and a cost estimate for each project will be created. This is similar to the cost estimate a builder would prepare for a new house. To finish the cost estimate, just as when building a house we will need to make some decisions about what features we want. There will be a series of meetings over the next couple of years to develop the standards for our public infrastructure,
especially parks and roads. A big question is: “Who should pay for this construction?” In
my opinion, growth should pay for growth. The exception is if your septic system fails and you need to connect to the sewers, you should also pay for your share of the sewers. The same would be true for drinking water. Everyone will need to pay for their share. If
growth pays for growth, how much will it cost? The current estimates for the city are
21,000 new homes and 24,000 new jobs in Damascus over the next 50 to 100 years. An
educated guess is that buildings constructed for new jobs will pay for about 1/3 of the
new infrastructure. Dividing the number of new homes into 2/3 of the 906 million budget
estimate gives a cost of $29,000 per new home. These costs are very similar to those in
the developing areas near Damascus, in Gresham. We will not know the actual number until the infrastructure master plans are done. This process will require a couple of years and will result in ballot measures being presented to the voters to approve the charges. This would be similar to signing the contract with the builder for your new home. Please watch for opportunities to serve on committees or to give your input into deciding what we need to build. Help us pick out the carpet and cabinets for our new home.

Council and Mayor’s articles are written from the perspective of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the view of the entire council.

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