The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Valley residents concerned about Renaissance style town

 

September 27, 2018



Wahkiakum County commissioners heard concerns from Elochoman Valley residents Tuesday that a commune might start in their neighborhood and adversely impact their quality of life.

Residents of the Monroe Acres development and other Elochoman Valley residents expressed concern that a planned development that was announced over the weekend will adversely impact their lives.

According to the website townoftaylor.com, the future Town of Taylor will be a co-op community of businesses with the theme of living in the 1500's. The town will be open year round for visitors, renaissance fairs, and other attractions, including Tudor style two-story shops and residences. Members of the co-op will live in apartments above the shops and farm a portion of the former Dale and Margaret Strueby farm. Planned opening is in the year 2020.

However, residents fear there will be adverse impacts.

Monroe Acres resident Mike Willette said that he had gone over the town's website and Facebook pages, and "Some of the stuff I've seen give me concern."

"We moved there (Monroe Acres) because it's nice and quiet. "They may blow up and get huge."

A neighbor echoed Willette's concerns, adding that it sounded like a commune was planned. He added that a large development with shops, apartments and a fairgrounds would need lots of review and extensive environmental work.

Hicks later said the proprietor's initial plan is to farm the eastern section of the land adjacent to Monroe Acres and establish the Renaissance style town on the western side, which is far from other residences.

County Permit Coordinator David Hicks reported he has spoken with the new property owners and talked about what they need to do to meet building codes and other development rules.

"They're just in the planning stages," he said. "They realize they'll have to put in a waste control system. They're seeking an architect for making sure building designs meet codes.

"I gave them the10-page State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) application so they could see what they need to do."

The SEPA application covers a wide range of issues ranging from wetlands development to traffic impacts, Hicks said.

Commissioners said that they, like the public, had just learned of the planned town.

"I went out and talked to him (the new land owner) today," said Commissioner Mike Backman. "They want to be able to sell good quality food. He told me they want to be good stewards of the land. We need to communicate."

"Our due diligence is to look a little deeper in to it and evaluate it to form a clear picture," said Commissioner Blair Brady.

"Believe me, we'll be watching this closely and asking questions," said Commissioner Dan Cothren. "It's bigger than what's being said. I have some concerns, too."

Brady noted that the county doesn't have any zoning law (only in the Town of Cathlamet) and there's "a lot of flexibility in the county comprehensive plan.

"If he follows the right procedures, he can do what he wants to," said Backman.

 

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