Letters to the Editor

Stealthy Christmas gifts from Thurston County

Have you heard about the Oak Tree Preserve project, the largest development ever in Thurston County (1,100 single-family lots), with a high-density ratio of eight units per acre? Virtually no one living along the southeast Marvin Road corridor was aware of it until late summer.

Santa maybe good to you this Christmas, but within five years, the county promises 10,000 more cars passing the corner at Marvin and 19th Avenue every day. That means 21,000 vehicles traveling the narrow two-lane roadway daily, compared to: Carpenter Road (5 lanes)—15,900 trips; Marvin Road between Martin Way and I-5 (five lanes plus turnouts)—25,000 vehicles.

Further, the absence of project information is stunning. Consider this: county-hosted town hall information meetings—0; county web site references—0; mailings to adjacent homeowners—1, five years ago; general mailing to area residents—0; Olympian Newspaper articles—0; developer hosted forums—0. Commissioner Romero spoke to Laurel Oaks and McAllister Park residents in October. She had general knowledge but lacked details. Fair enough—we have county employees to handle specifics. She left with dozens of unanswered questions, promising responses. Answers to date—0.

Instead, county officials granted the project preliminary approval on Dec.1. Further, public comment ended Dec.16 and the deadline for appeals is Christmas. Where is government transparency? Should we tolerate stealth in government? The developer must be giddy with the county’s lightning-fast approval process.

Our gifts from the county are lumps of coal for our Christmas stockings -- increased pollution and monstrous traffic congestion.

Richard Puz