Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Time Out Whistle

Posted

In February I took an extra week off before coming back to present the Whistle you’re reading today. I was far away for an annual visit to a best friend and a chance to get warm and gain perspective. Reentering our bustling community, I’ve reached some conclusions about how we can proceed in 2023.

First, The Whistle is always dedicated to listening, to representing the opinion of Leavenworth’s citizens and to offering perspective when it comes to development and housing. Right now, our community remains concerned about affordability and density in our neighborhoods as well as the Mayor, Planning Commission and Council’s lack of support for voter's concerns when big decisions are made.

In that spirit, here’s what we’re watching —and what you should do!

• The overuse of alleys for access in all neighborhoods without maintenance being planned or an emphasis placed   on fixing neighborhood streets first.

• B&B numbers growing and taking ADUs out of attainable workforce housing.

• Condos, townhomes and four-plexes in every neighborhood, including single family.

• The impact of loosely planned Alpenglow development on our infrastructure.

• The lack of a sustainability plan for tourism in our rural community.

• The City continuing to use big city planning requirements for our small rural village.

Secondly, The Whistle blows loud and clear because it is generated by deep breaths taken in the belly of detailed research and fact checking. As writer, I can’t say enough about the team consisting of a dozen people who have or currently work with city governance, city planning, land use, the building trades, nonprofit activism, education and law. In fact, the more I’ve learned from interacting with the team’s intelligence and integrity compared with City Hall, the more concerned I’ve become about the direction our town is headed!

Right now, The Whistle is looking ahead to the next big issue. The election of council members. All but Clint Strand’s and Sharon Waters’ positions are up for election or reelection. The mayoral seat is also up for grabs. That means there is copious room for change brought about by residents who decide to run for office.

Since last September, The Whistle has built a strong platform regarding neighborhoods, the need for more transparency, integrity at the City and a perspective on issues regarding affordability, infrastructure, and “urban” growth in the Upper Valley. If you are inspired by our platform and would like to run, please contact us. We can support you with excellent research and a team that loves to formulate ideas and solutions.

As for me, due to my resulting level of alarm, I’ve stretched my time as editor past my original commitment date. Last September when the Whistle column and website launched, I knew my work life would explode in the beginning of 2023. Here it is the beginning of March and the nonprofit arts organization I direct and produce has moved out of “low season” and is in full swing until the end of May of 2023. With regret, I’m blowing the whistle... for myself! Your columnist is in time out.

The good news is that there is a new group gaining momentum in our region.

Residents Coalition of Chelan County, or RC3, is now in position to work with residents to ensure that future growth and development in Chelan County preserves and enhances the qualities that residents value the most: our rural character, safe and friendly neighborhoods, our natural environment, and a slower pace of life. I support the wisdom and credentials of this organization. Like the Whistle Team, they seem to be in favor of moderation that does not sacrifice quality of life in these times of unprecedented growth. Find RC3’s website at coalitionofchelancounty.org or look on Facebook for their site.

In addition, the interim offer is still on for guest columns. If you have something to say, please let us know! Plus, if I can swing it, I’ll pop in on occasion, backed by our Whistlers.

In closing for now, The Whistle team and I appreciate your support! We’ve had excellent readership and that’s because of you. We can still be reached through the website at LWhistle.com. You’ll still find our Whistle List of community “to do’s” in place on the site and there will still be community polls posted in the Echo that reflect your concerns. Please feel free to contact us whenever you like. This column may change, and I may not be as visible, but keep whistling. We’ll continue to hear you and respond!

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