Kudos to the Salem Statesman-Journal for today’s excellent front page story, “Groundwater dispute surfaces as a result of Measure 37.” Laurel is heading up the disputants, neighbors of ours who object to a subdivision being built on nearby farm land.
Some of her testimony at a Marion County Planning Commission hearing, where opposition to the development was strong from many property owners who don’t want their wells going dry, was quoted in the story:
“Marion County keeps allowing more development of new properties and new well entitlements in groundwater limited areas, with inadequate studies to determine whether even the current level of development can be sustained,” said Laurel Hines, a homeowner in Spring Lake Estates.
“Now, large numbers of new lots and new wells are being considered for this proposed subdivision on areas zoned only for farmland, where very little information is known about how many wells can be supported without causing harm to existing surface and groundwater rights.”
The statistics on Measure 37, an attempt to get around Oregon’s land use rules, are scary. To date 473 claims have been filed in Marion County covering 26, 781 acres, about 17,000 of which are zoned exclusive farm use.
Soon bulldozers are going to start paving over irreplaceable farm land. That’s why the legislature and governor need to suspend Measure 37 until this horribly flawed law can be fixed.
The Keep Our Water Safe (KOWS) committee that Laurel chairs will be leading the fight against the subdivision at a second Planning Commission hearing tomorrow night. As the headline of another Statesman-Journal story by Casper said, “Dispute about development goes beyond groundwater.”
A herd of KOWSians will provide persuasive reasons why Leroy Laack’s subdivision proposal needs to be turned down or put on hold until a hydrogeological study is conducted of the area’s groundwater. Hopefully the Planning Commission will do the right thing.
It’s aggravating that neighbors have to put so much time, money, and effort into preventing our wells from going dry because an avaricious developer wants to plunk 42 homes on two and three acre lots in an area that has been designated as requiring at least five acres per well.
Laack is quoted as saying that water rights are the same as development rights. He doesn’t see any problem with him making money at the expense of the people who already live here.
Well, I’m with the person who left this comment on the Statesman-Journal web site:
Another greedy, self-centered "neighbor" (and I use the term loosely) only concerned with filling his own pockets; and to hell with anyone & everyone else. Sorry, Laacky old man, but safe, clean drinking water trumps your desire to get rich by destroying the livability & beauty of your neighborhood.
On BlueOregon Jim Gilbert urges us to fix Measure 37. Take a moment and sign a petition asking the legislature to do that. We and our neighbors will be appreciative. Especially when water keeps coming out of our taps.