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Thursday, November 03, 2005

2,000 Acre "Mini-Cities" Debated In Snohomish

Snohomish County is considering a proposal to allow supposedly "self-contained" communities. The Everett Herald reports on a public hearing last night:

The mini-cities - built as large housing and commercial developments - are called fully contained communities, and continue to suffer criticism for not being fully contained.

Such developments would require at least 2,000 acres of rural land in an area at least a mile from other urban areas under proposed county rules.

Half the land must be protected as a natural buffer, and one job must be provided for each house, condo or apartment.

"The biggest problem they always have is employment," said Grady Helseth, a developer from Snohomish.

Without jobs that pay enough to cover their mortgages, thousands of residents would be forced to commute to job centers in established cities.
And thousands of non-residents will commute to the "contained community" from cheaper neighborhoods to work the low-wage jobs. This is beginning to sound pretty much the same as a normal (uncontained?) community.
"There is no need for a new city in the rural area," said Kristin Kelly, spokeswoman for the anti-sprawl group Futurewise and the Pilchuck Audubon Society.

Kelly said officials are dreaming if they think people will live and work only within the development's confines.
I would have to agree. Also, what is to stop "investors" from purchasing homes in these fantasy communities and further driving the prices up above what the pre-planned jobs can support?

(Jeff Switzer, Everett Herald, 11.03.2005)

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