At the last planning commission meeting, there were five people that spoke against the division of a 200-ft. by 200-ft. lot in the Cook Hill subdivision. There was no one person for the proposed division except if you count the city planner. The city of Ilwaco has hired Pacific County to do the job of plan review, known as the city planner. Mike DeSimone (the city planner) in my opinion does not represent the city properly. I believe he is biased in the fact that his reports favor the applicant and not what is in the best interests of Ilwaco. It is what he leaves out of his reports that are disturbing.

The planning commission voted to accept the lot division. The planning commission members are: Don Parsons (chairman), Bob Bogar, Ed Ahlers, Gary Wirkkala, Dustin Mead and Karen DeLessert (secretary)

Since I have been involved in the ordinances, codes and the development issues of Ilwaco, I have found that the planning commission has never ruled against the city planner. Why is there a planning commission? The city planner is set up as the dictator and the public (although they are invited to a public hearing) cannot prevail. Even though it is five to one against. Where is the democracy? At least it appears to be that way at this level. The city council is a different matter and I will talk about them later.

The state of Washington decided to make it mandatory that cities have a plan for development, because of the haphazard developments of the past. Ilwaco fell into this category. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1997. In the Comprehensive Plan it clearly states that the Cook Hill subdivision be larger lots because of steep slopes and environmental issues. Also the larger lots are important for the prevention of erosion, stormwater runoff and traffic issues. The entrance to the Cook Hill subdivision is one of the most dangerous intersections in Ilwaco. To increase the traffic in this subdivision is ludicrous. Remember that the Cook Hill subdivision is a dead end subdivision. What goes in must come out the same entrance. Since there are no through streets, it makes it difficult for heavy trucks, such as delivery or fire trucks to turn around. Most of the roads are substandard private roads and driveways that are gravel and will not support heavy loads. Also in the case of an emergency these roads would be impassable.

Mr. DeSimone did not report on all these issues. It would appear that no planning commission member had researched any of these issues before the planning commission meeting. You would think the planning commission would protect the Comprehensive Plan and the ordinances and codes of the city of Ilwaco.

Here is where I am making a plea to help protect the neighborhood of Cook Hill. For all the citizens of Ilwaco that believe in the property rights of the lot owners in the Cook Hill subdivision or who believe that the Cook Hill Subdivision should not be divided into smaller lots, please come to the city council meeting Feb. 25, and speak out on the issues. At least sign the form against the proposed division of the lot.

The city council has, in the past, overruled the planning commission. You may remember the Noyes case where they proposed to put their port-a-potty business in the industrial area on Main Street. They had every right to put their business there, according to the zoning laws. But I had raised some questions about the procedure and flood zone. The council delayed the vote for two weeks. This gave the neighborhood time to organize and fill the council room with people that said no emphatically. I am sure that the council members felt that they better go with the majority or risk not being elected again. This is one of the days that I fell in love with democracy. As for the Noyes, I believe they are better off in their new location.

Remember I am not talking about dividing acreage here. This is a lot that is part of a subdivision. Should subdivisions be allowed to subdivide? I say NO. Respectively,

Don Berger


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