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PRAIRIE: Here's a better story

| December 10, 2010 9:00 PM

I love a fairy tale, and your editorial was certainly that! I submit my own version:

Once upon a time, there were retired villagers who lived in the beautiful town of Post Falls. They moved there because of the beauty of the area. Yes they had retirements, yes, too, they had nice homes and they paid very high taxes to the "hamlet" and Kootenai County for the privilege of living there. Over the last few years, their taxes have increased more than three-fold. This area has many such villagers. They are an important part of the backbone of this community and their backbone is carrying a heavy load.

For these villagers, the concern about housing development on the Prairie is not quite as simple as you state in your editorial tale. The reality is that not that long ago, The city of Post Falls paid for a consulting group who were city planners, who had a concept called Smart Code. They studied Post Falls and recommended that first, the city should develop the vacant land within the city limits. Was this consultation just wasted money? If more houses are built outside the city on the prairie, then sewer systems will be necessary, or are more septic systems put over the aquifer in this fairy tale? Will the developers pay for the infrastructure on a new development? Not if this story goes as past developments have gone!

Post Falls taxpayers pick up the tab because these areas are annexed into the city. Never mind that there are many tracts of vacant land within the city boundaries that are not being developed. Ignore the fact that there are a great many vacant houses and houses for sale. We need MORE! The evil developers are trying their best to have all the land declared buildable because eventually our Kootenai County Commissioners will quit dinking around and put into place some sort of land use planning policy that might put a kink in their plans. Developers are doing their darndest to acquire as much land as they can before this becomes a reality. They whisper the current magic words, "affordable housing" to charm the officials. The reality is that affordable housing should be built closer to services, businesses and schools rather than far out on the prairie.

The jobs created by building new houses only last as long as it takes to build the house. What we need and should be promoting now are sustainable jobs.

I want a happy ending to this tale, but for that to happen, Post Falls City planners and Kootenai County Commissioners need to face reality. In my tale they need to embrace planned growth and charge the developer realistic impact fees. They need to step up and agree upon a manner of collecting these fees so development pays for itself.

And we pesky villagers need to speak up!

NANCY EBEL

Post Falls

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