Letter: Predictability needed in land planning



I would like to point out that the Jan. 8 Columbian story — “Few places to build jobs: Clark County has willing workers but a dearth of shovel-ready land for employers, and that could imperil the area’s economic recovery if local governments don’t take action, experts say” — regarding available land for job creation left out a major observation.

Several years ago Lakeside Industries purchased 17 acres on the Chelatchie Railroad that was zoned heavy industrial property. It took over seven years to permit this parcel. During the preliminary hearings, Bart Phillips, former CEO of Columbia River Economic Development Council, wrote a supporting letter to the Clark County commissioners stating that they needed to support the county’s own zoning.

Environmentalist attorney John Karpinski said the county’s business and political leaders caved to the residential real-estate interests; that the county disregarded the need for industrial lands. The thoughtful land planning “should have been done 20 years ago.” Well, guess who represented the Brush Prairie neighborhood association in fighting the properly-zoned Lakeside project? Karpinski, of course.

I think there needs to be some accountability for those who appeal projects. These projects are submitted by professional people paid for by investors in our community.

Predictability is key to encouraging investment in our community.

Gary Eastman