I live on three wooded acres in East Olympia. A little over 10 years ago, two subdivisions were built behind my neighborhood. Property that had been zoned one residence per five acres was rezoned for high-density cluster development. The problem is not with the houses themselves; it’s where these subdivisions were built. Instead of being built where there’s infrastructure to support them, they were plunked down in the county.
There’s not much we can do about urban sprawl that’s already happened. But thanks to Karen Valenzuela and her fellow Thurston County commissioners, it will be more difficult for developers to build subdivisions in rural areas. One of Valenzuela’s goals when she joined the commission was to enact development impact fees, adopt the updated Critical Areas Ordinance and update the county’s Shoreline Management Program. Commissioners have accomplished the first two goals, and they’re making progress on the shoreline program.
I’ll always be grateful to Valenzuela for her efforts to protect our rural and agricultural areas, one of many reasons why I’ll vote for her in November. I know that Valenzuela will work towards making sure that my community does not become an area of urban sprawl.