In Office Since January 2010

“SMART GROWTH” May Be Coming to Your Community

“SMART GROWTH” MAY BE COMING TO YOUR COMMUNITY

The Washougal City Administration introduced to City Council members at the 9 August 2010 council workshop a Clark County proposal seeking municipal partners in a US Housing and Urban Development Department grant. The HUD grant is an attempt to impose so called Smart Growth policies on municipalities. Essentially, HUD is proposing to provide some funding in exchange for your acceptance of their vision for your community.

The Sellers Administration in Washougal pushed hard to restructure the city using Smart Growth policies. Smart Growth is a problematic land use and transportation planning concept that legislates higher population densities and discourages driving. Smart Growth policies:
• Fail to recognize the automobile as the mode of transportation needed and desired by local residents for essential travel to major employment centers and commercial concentrations.
• Raise the cost of housing and reduce its availability by coercive over-regulation that tries to predict the housing market. (e.g. Cottage housing regulations.)
• Introduce congestion on streets to discourage automobile use. (e.g. Use of curb extensions and the E Street Road Diet.)
• Justify imposition of congestion and inconvenience with theories about the dangers of carbon dioxide to the environment for which there is:
 An unraveling scientific consensus.
 Significant evidence that suggests man has little effect on carbon dioxide levels, and less ability to influence them.
• Raise the cost of City government. (e.g. By requiring hybrid vehicles.)
• Create bicycle and pedestrian traffic thoroughfares used primarily for recreation at the expense of vital motor vehicle lifelines to employment and shopping centers.

The result of Smart Growth policies in various sections of the country has been road and street congestion, empty storefronts, light rail trains with insufficient ridership to pay more than 50 percent of its operational expenses, and increased crime. If you want to see these results, take Burnside out to Gresham, Oregon.

If this is what you want for your city, this grant is for you. If not, call your council members and give them your thoughts on this proposal.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman