Critics should have come to the meetings

There have been a few letters of late criticizing the recent county commission vote for the “critical areas” ordinance (CAO).

It would really help if the people who are so quick to criticize would read the ordinance so they could make intelligent comments. It would also have been helpful if any of these recent letter writers had attended the public meetings to work on these issues.

The meetings were well-advertised and well-attended by people who represented a wide range of opinions. All sides listened and compromised. All were aware of the importance of protecting our agricultural, forest lands, mineral lands of long-term significance, and our natural resources. They were also aware that people need to have the ability to use their land to the best of its potential.

If those critical of the vote would read the ordinance, they would see that reasonable use is incorporated into the law and there are many ways for landowners to work within the guidelines without loss of value.

On July 5, Wes Cormier’s letter criticized Commissioner Terry Willis for being a farmer and therefore part of the “radical” group that was going to take away everyone’s land. He doesn’t like the special treatment farmers receive in Grays Harbor County. I wonder how the agricultural community in his district feels about that?

The critical area ordinance protects lands designated for forestry, agriculture and minerals within the county so that families can be assured that their properties will be there for the future. It does not prevent people from building single-family homes. Commissioner Herb Welch’s vote against it is based on lack of knowledge of how these ordinances work and outdated, political talking points. He did not attend any of the public meetings. Commissioner Willis was the only commissioner who attended the meetings. Whether you agree with her or not, she works for all her constituents by studying the facts and making decisions based on them.

By protecting wetlands, properties won’t be flooded. By protecting streams, our fish may survive another day. Forest lands will remain in forestry, mineral lands will be protected. The cost of not following the law and not having guidelines for land use is always greater than having a plan that incorporates the best outcomes for all sides. Without these protections, required by law, we could look forward to acres and acres of housing developments rather than forest and ag lands.

Perhaps that’s what Wes Cormier has in mind?

Linda Orgel