Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Nov. 8

Excessive appeal fees

Thank you for Mr. Boone’s Oct. 12 article calling attention to Lacey’s high appeal fees. And thank you to Mayor Ryder (and council members) for recognizing these onerous fees should be reconsidered.

In a zealous effort to recoup monies to offset staff time, the city has overlooked the fact that the permit application process itself is labor intensive. Pre-approval, by statute, requires

1. Pre-submission meetings

2. Application submittal review

3. Determination of completeness

4. Notice of application

5. Comment period

6. Application review (public hearing only if required), and

7. Notice of final decision.

The first six labor intensive steps are required prior to the decision. Note that appeals happen after the decision. It seems, if recovering cost is the issue, these pre-approval costs would rightfully be covered in the permit application fee not the appeal fee.

An appellant currently must pay for the Hearings Examiner’s time as well as the $2,179 fee. It appears that the only staff time required to handle the appeal could be to collect the fee and schedule the examiner. If there is confidence in the original decision, no further work should be necessary.

If, historically, appeals have been minimal, and since staff is hired to review and process permits, it could also be said that no additional fees are needed.

Margaret Green, Lacey

Let’s cool down Puget Sound

We might not be able to stop global warming in other parts of the world, but we might be able to make a difference here at home. Let’s concentrate on making our homes and businesses cooler. Twice what’s spent on transportation is used to cool buildings.

A shady tree can actually make the air above it 10 degrees cooler, not to mention the air below. Can we do more to shade our driveways? Can we encourage businesses to provide more than light poles for shade in parking lots? Trees make a difference in the value of a home. Don’t they increase the value of business property?

Can we encourage the planting of trees alongside our driveways, roads and freeways? Can we forsake some of our lake views to add sections of trees to help cool bodies of water that hold the heat so well? And maybe more trees would bring back some of the thousands of birds gone from Puget Sound.

With water running off over our hot roofs, roads, and toasty lakes and streams, no wonder salmon and therefore orcas have been impacted. Sometimes we can push The Government to change things, and sometimes We the People can just start now. We may need some research: best trees for our yards, places to donate trees, ways to help Stream Team or Arbor Day Foundation. But the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. Let’s get started!

Karen Knudson, Olympia