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Minto PBP 2

Republican Andy Schaller, independent Michelle Santamaria and Democrats Melissa McKinlay and Kathy Foster, all candidates for county commissioner, offered their stance on the controversial Minto West development.

Andy Schaller on Minto West

District 6 comprises nearly 1,600 square miles, and has long-established land uses. Any future land-use changes need to be consistent with existing neighboring and affected property uses. Managed growth is paramount to the preservation of current property rights and lifestyles.

Land-use changes should be considered on the basis of public need and impact on existing property owners. Agriculture is vital to the county’s economic engine and to our food consumption needs. The residents of The Acreage chose their properties and their lifestyles for their unique reasons. I desire to protect and preserve the agricultural areas and rural lifestyle of western residents. This can be achieved only with a commission consensus of four or more votes.

Future developments should not interfere with existing properties. Rather, they should be consistent with surrounding properties and if possible, an enhancement to the existing way of life and lifestyle.

Minto has the right to develop Minto West at the approved levels of 2,996 homes and 235,000 square feet of commercial space. That right was part of much deliberation concluding in 2008, and empowered by the State Agricultural Enclave designation as agreed to by the prior landowner and the county. Minto is entitled to the density and intensity it purchased. It also has the right to ask for increases, but the county has the right to decline.

The right to develop land on a large scale also comes with the responsibility to ensure compatibility with surrounding properties and circumstances. Purchasing “concurrency” by paying a proportionate share of the increased infrastructure needed does not ensure the necessary improvements are ever made at the county level. If public funds are not available to supplement the developer responsibility, the end result is undue burden on the surrounding properties and lifestyles.

Charging the developer with the full cost of improvements necessary would most definitely impact the number of density and intensity land-use change requests.

The county has the ultimate power and responsibility to manage growth in the unincorporated areas and anywhere within county jurisdiction. County decisions should be based upon the highest and best-use practices for the greatest number in affected areas, while always maintaining a broad view of an area in its entirety.