Put locals first in Clinton plan | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
January 20, 2012 · 6:22 AM
To the editor:
Maggie Stern agrees with Norma Hansson about the need for your reporting to be more subject-balanced. She also touched on an upcoming newsworthy issue, the future of Clinton.
At the end of January, an effort to look into the future will take place in and for Clinton’s center core. “Clinton Future Search Conference” will bring together “60-70 stakeholders for two and a half days of discussion, planning and commitment to action,” according to their literature.
The gathering of ideas from diverse viewpoints is a good thing. Will it lead to any real change? It will depend on the energy this meeting generates. There have been several community efforts by locals to improve Clinton that have had some degree of success.
Highway 525 is both the lifeblood for Clinton’s commercial core, and an impediment to Clinton’s functioning and beautification. We have commercialism on both sides of Highway 525 making a pedestrian community hazardous. After decades of lobbying, the speed limit was lowered to 30 mph, but the tree lined median that would help beautify and further slow car traffic, has been opposed by the State DOT, as they are in the business of moving traffic.
A much larger planning effort for South Whidbey, called “South Whidbey Concepts,” gathered opinions on the needs and wants of locals, but after thousands of man-hours of work, the study was rejected by county government. Beware of not having all parties on board.
Clinton should strive to be the service center for local residents, commuters and summer tourists, in that order.
Clinton’s core growth will be limited by lack of infrastructure. Without new water rights, Clinton Water District has finite water hookups. Without a sewer system, growth is limited by the amount of perkable soil for on- and off-site drainfields. Stormwater run-off needs to be controlled.
Commercial and housing growth should be encouraged on the south side of Highway 525 where the topography is conducive to development. Envision a walkable mixed-use community, shops below with housing above.
The view of the salt water with the Cascade Mountains as the backdrop is one of the Clinton core’s biggest assets. Quality housing will attract new neighbors to make you proud.
Clinton should not try to be Langley. Langley decided to switch from supplying goods and services for locals to catering to the needs of tourists. We don’t want to be another “Disney North.”