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GROWTH: Government plays key role

| August 26, 2020 1:00 AM

Monday’s paper featured an article about the Kootenai County Commissioner meeting on growth. One commissioner commented “It doesn’t hurt to research and look at these things, but it’s not the role of the government to plan growth, just plan for growth.” I have to respectfully disagree.

Government’s role is not to sit back and decide we need a new road or water and sewer lines because development has occurred. Providing some planning direction thereby protecting property rights and property values is essential for any community.

If you moved here from a large city you probably witnessed uncontrolled growth. Urban sprawl due to “leap frogging” and piecemeal development increases land costs, inflates housing costs and real estate taxes. Escaping out-of-control traffic, overcrowded schools and high living costs are why many relocated to places like Idaho.

Unification and consistency of development provide for a directing and funding for growth. Where we can logically build a road and extend water and sewer lines we minimize public costs.

Where do school buses need to go? What roads need to be plowed? Left unchecked, developers dictate public services based on where they purchased land. Rather government can provide incentives and constraints to address development in a cost effective manner be it allowing transfer of development rights to concurrency.

Here in Kootenai County, including the various cities, we have some well-qualified city planners who seek to do a good job. Let’s plan for our community to benefit us all. That is the role of government.

PHIL WARD

Coeur d’Alene