Update with City Council Meeting Video

This is Amy McHenry, founder of CFD. I know it’s been awhile since our last post! As many of you know I filed to run for City Council Position 3. For this reason, I will no longer be summarizing the council meetings, but I will still be uploading video. I am aware everything I do now will be seen in a different light, but I am committed to still delivering these videos to you…just minus my personal summary. I am looking for people to help continue the CFD meetings as well as people to run candidate interviews (update: I have a person interested in conducting the interviews) and forums! If you are interested please message CFD! Thank you Duvall 

Here are the latest videos from city council meetings:

May 16, 2017

June 6, 2017

Update

Here are the video recordings from the May 2, 2017 City Council meeting:

This is filing week! Check out our last post if you’re interested in running for an open position: https://citizensforduvall.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/how-to-run-for-office/

There is a Committee of the Whole meeting tonight @ 5:30pm followed by the City Council meeting @ 7pm. Here is the link to the packet with agenda and minutes from the May 2nd meeting: http://www.duvallwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3730

On Wednesday, May 17, 6pm – 8pm at the Riverview Education Center, 15510 1st Ave NE, Duvall 98019 is the City of Duvall’s Transportation Town Hall. The meeting will include: presentations, live polling, comments from your elected officials and a Q&A session. There will be information stations for you to visit and speak with city councilmembers, planning commissioners or staff members one-to-one.

How To Run For Office

Duvall’s elections are handled by King County and filing week is approaching. Are you interested but need a little help on what to do? The Candidate Manual and other resources can be found here: http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/for-candidates.aspx

The positions in the City of Duvall that have terms expiring in December 2017 are: Mayor, Councilmember Positions 1, 3, 5 and 6. The City of Duvall also currently has one vacant position on the City Council with a term ending in December 2019. For an application packet, go to their website: http://www.duvallwa.gov/166/City-Council This is Position 2 and the candidate selected to fill this position will also need to run in this election to retain the seat.

From the City of Duvall’s website:

“Holding an elected office requires a strong commitment to the community. There are city and state codes that legally define a council member’s role. This outline is meant to be a description of what a council member’s role is in Duvall.

The Duvall City Council is an elected body of 7 members. The council’s main responsibility is to set policy for the city. The City Council also has an important role in the budget process. The mayor is responsible for ensuring that policies set by the council are carried out. Each council member has responsibility for overseeing policy issues in some aspect of city government. In addition to keeping current on local policy issues, council members also need to stay informed on issues at the state and county level that could affect the city.”

There are 2 workshops hosted by King County this week! Friday, April 28 from 2-4pm and Saturday, April 29 from 9-11am. Both are held at the King County Elections Headquarters: 919 SW Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057.

Anyone can file for any open seat that they qualify for, meaning you must live in the geographical city limits. Filing week is May 15 – May 19, 2017. The list of candidates who have filed will be posted daily starting on May 15, 2017 no later than 12pm: http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/for-candidates/who-has-filed.aspx

Good luck! And here are some quotes to inspire you:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, American Cultural Anthropologist

This is man’s highest end, to others’ service, all his powers to bend. – Sophocles, Greek Playwright

Do nothing – or, take history into our own hands and like few generations are given the chance, bend it, bend it into the service of a better day. – former Vice President Joe Biden, at Syracuse University

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Philosopher and Poet

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. – George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright

I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. – Lily Tomlin, American Actress, Comedian and Writer

The time is always right to do right. – Dr. Martin Luther King, JR., African American Civil Rights Leader; Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church

 

4-18-2017 City Council Meeting Recap

The Committee of the Whole (COW) Meeting at 5:30pm was held at the Big Rock Ballfields for the Ground Breaking Ceremony. This initiates the improvements to the fields voted in by our community on Proposition 1.

The videos of this meeting are posted on our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSX4x6EbBCVQM1XAIlLq-nsJvUG2b_85U  The high quality audio is available here: http://www.duvallwa.gov/AgendaCenter

To start the City Council Meeting, Mayor Ibershof made a proclamation that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The second proclamation was for the City of Duvall to participate in Kids to Parks Day on May 20, 2017, urging the residents of Duvall to make time on that day to take the children in their lives to a neighborhood, state or national park. Both of these proclamations can be read in their entirety on pages 10 and 11 of the Council Packet: http://www.duvallwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3601

At this meeting (at the end), the Council voted in a new Councilmember, however Councilmember Leroy Collinwood gave notice of his resigning. So the Mayor asked the Council to suspend the usual rules of a three week wait and just allow for 10 days to pass before filling CM Collinwood’s position since there were six applicants for this last position. The main reason for this specific request is to allow whoever fills the new position to be able to file for the election before the deadline. Otherwise the new Councilmember would be voted into the Council but not be able to file for the election. This motion passed unanimously. About 7 minutes into 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5OQUpXSM14&list=PLSX4x6EbBCVQM1XAIlLq-nsJvUG2b_85U&t=419s&index=1) You can watch a farewell to Councilmember Collinwood who is moving and therefore resigning from the Duvall City Council.

Councilmember reports are on the 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 1 video at about 12:45 – 26:27. There are a multitude of interesting items on this agenda. The City Administrator mentioned the process for the Visitor Center lease was beginning, a continued look at Regional Animal Control Services, a review of the Town Hall Meeting on Transportation and the Earth Day Event. The Fire Chief delivered an update on King County Fire District #45. All of these can be viewed on the videos on the CFD YouTube Channel (link at the top of the post). However, I think most people are interested in the Public Hearing items, so let’s get to it.

There were no public comments for the City Property Surplus Resolution Public Hearing.

The Public Hearing for the Big Rock 10% Annexation Petition concluded at this meeting (it starts at 26:25 on 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 2). Planning Director, Lara Thomas gave a brief overview of new exhibits and general information of this petition. The Planning Commission already held their hearing and their recommendation is to move this petition forward. Thomas let the audience know that if this 10% petition moved forward to the next step, the 50% Petition, it typically includes: formal legal description and map of area to be annexed, pre-annexation agreement, public hearings, approval by the City Council via an ordinance, and then the ordinance is sent to the Boundary Review Board for final approval. Annexation decisions are not appealable. The applicant has offered to extend the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the City and WPM Property, that is set to expire on 12/31/2017, through 12/31/2018. Thomas explained that the next steps were to continue the public hearing and receive additional public testimony (closed at this meeting), have additional council discussion, talk about two different options for the MOU, the council needs to provide direction to staff (approve or deny 10% petition), and the council can amend/modify/add additional conditions. There was some really well thought out and potent public commentary and I encourage you to watch it. It kicks off at 34:27 on 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 2 and goes through Part 3, 13:24.

There were no public comments for the Emergency Moratorium on Residential Development.

The Director of Public Works, Boyd Benson, presented information about the proposed restroom facility at Big Rock Ball Field at 15:15 on the 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 3 video. The bid is higher than some were expecting, but it is mostly due to the fact that the stalls will all be individual entry. This is a great feature, as any gender can use any stall at any time, minimizing wait times during events.

Ordinance AB17-29, which updates the Park Impact Fee, providing for severability and establishing an effective date (starts 28:48 on 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 3) was discussed and voted

Councilmember Walker voiced support for choosing the highest end of the fee range presented by staff. His main reasons were that ten years ago the community made it known that they wanted the land around Big Rock Ball fields for future park expansion and the reason the City does not have the money to purchase the land (regardless of whether the property owners would sell to the City) is because these fees were not raised earlier. If the City is to save money to purchase land for parks and open space in the future, these fees need to be higher. Councilmember Ockerlander asked if the City overcharged and refund checks had to be issued, what the administrative costs would be. Public Works Director, Boyd Benson, replied they did not currently have a process for refunding park impact fee overcharges and that was a part of why the staff was recommending the more modest increase. Councilmember Walker reiterated that he believed through the response from the community that they wanted better facilities, and in order to accomplish that the fees needed to be higher. He ended with stating that if it meant they ran the risk of having to issue a few refund checks he thought it was worth the low risk, however he was willing to honor what the rest of the council agreed upon. All voted in favor of the moderate fee increase, except for Councilmember Thomas, who voted no. This increases the single family impact fee to $7,315 and the multi family impact fee to $6,486. You can read the original staff presentation here: https://citizensforduvall.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/park-impact-fee-presentation/

Regarding Resolution AB17-21, the Big Rock 10% Annexation Petition, Citizens For Duvall (CFD) conducted an online survey and sent the results to the City Council. They can be viewed here: https://citizensforduvall.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/big-rock-annexation-10-petition-survey/  The discussion starts at 10:05 on the 4-18-2017 City Council Meeting – Part 4 video. Mayor Ibershof suggested that the Council move forward with the 10% petition as the 50% petition is “where the rubber meets the road” and where details are discussed, and both parties can walk away if they can’t come to an agreement. Councilmember Collinwood said his main concern was hearing from the community that they want the land around the ball fields for park expansion and he wanted to know if that was on the table at all. Planning Director, Lara Thomas answered,

“The option you have in front of you is to purchase property within that area consistent with the existing Parks, Trails and Open Spaces Plan, saving up money and buying parcels out there whether it’s to the East or the West, there’s three parcels out there.  Do you have the money today to do that? No. But do you have the opportunity to save money? You always have that opportunity. The question you have to ask yourself isn’t the opportunity lost and the future if you can’t acquire them, you can’t come into an agreement or they get developed out. It’s just an issue of risk, reward and what you can do in the future. Today you’re looking at just what is the opportunity that’s in front of you that’s apart of the 10% petition. And at this point it’s to garner three acres on one of the parcels and three acres on the other to expand the Big Rock Ball fields and then have to go into negotiation with that developer over whatever that period of time is that council decides during the pre-annexation process. To decide what that six acres is going to look like and if you can come into an agreement then you push that annexation over the threshold. If you can’t, then you politely say we couldn’t come to an agreement and you don’t move it forward and then you still have that option out in the future to potentially buy it. But I can’t tell you are you going to have that opportunity in the future? Or you’re not. We don’t have a crystal ball, all we have is the opportunity and/or the cost you have in front of you today.”

Councilmember Collinwood stated his appreciation for the developer’s willingness to negotiate and work with future codes that haven’t been codified yet. Councilmember Nixon stated that after much thought she wanted to see this go through to the 50% petition because she doesn’t even know if the Big Rock Ball fields would be suitable for expansion, the North annexation has a proposed 20 acre park and she would like to see a more central park rather than one on the edge of town. Councilmember Thomas said he would like to see this move forward to 50% petition as the applicant showed a great community benefit. Councilmember Ockerlander stated that she thought there needs to be more public discussion and the Parks, Trails & Open Spaces Plan needs to be updated. She believes that the best thing for the community is to continue the conversation as many members of the Council will not be the same next year after the election, and therefore move forward with the 10% petition. Councilmember Brudnicki doesn’t want the conversation to end with a developer who has expressed a desire to work with the City and the community. She believes more homes and families will increase the richness of the community. Councilmember Walker said that he believed provisions in the original MOU limited the City’s ability to negotiate in the best interest of the community and that is why he was against it before as well as against continuing the MOU. He said there is no justifiable provision under our growth targets to bring in more density with over 700 units in our pipeline. Annexations are to allow for growth in a City and he does not believe Duvall has a rational need to add growth with hundreds of homes in the queue. Councilmember Walker brought up the survey result from the City’s Town Hall meeting saying that the community wants to be listened to and that they want development to be done better. He said that the plans were beautiful but not designed for the future codes being developed and that we would lose the opportunity to make a meaningful expansion to this park that we’re investing substantial money into improving. Councilmember Walker stated he was fine with letting this opportunity go by letting the MOU expire at the end of the year. Councilmember Ockerlander stated that extending the MOU would not bind the developer to existing code and that this would simply continue the conversation and the draft concept could change significantly in the future. Councilmember Walker was concerned that the pre-annexation agreement is built upon the MOU, and there will be R4 density homes and how much park space we get will be dependent upon how many homes economically support that. The direction provided to staff from the majority of the councilmembers was to move forward with the 10% petition.

The Ordinance AB17-39 adopting a six month moratorium on the acceptance of new residential plat applications and new multi-family development applications within the City of Duvall passed 4 in favor (Walker, Brudnicki, Ockerlander, Nixon) and 2 opposed (Collinwood, Thomas).

The Council interviewed the three candidates and voted by matrix. Michelle Hogg received the majority vote and was sworn in at the meeting.

Big Rock Annexation 10% Petition Survey

Here are the results from the survey we posted. We’ve reached the maximum number of responses for the free version, so I will be closing it at this time. Thank you to everyone who participated! I have sent the results in an email to the City Council.

survey1Survey1comments1Survey1comments2survey2survey2commentssurvey3commentspage1survey3commentspage2survey3commentspage3survey3commentspage4survey3commentspage5blurredsurvey3commentspage6survey3commentspage7blurredsurvey3commentspage8survey3commentspage9

Due to the City Council meeting being cancelled due to lack of quorum last Tuesday, the Public Hearing for the Big Rock Annexation 10% Petition is now extended until Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. If you haven’t already, please let the City Council know your opinion: will.ibershof@duvallwa.gov, amy.ockerlander@duvallwa.gov, becky.nixon@duvallwa.gov, dianne.brudnicki@duvallwa.gov, leroy.collinwood@duvallwa.gov, scott.thomas@duvallwa.gov, jason.walker@duvallwa.gov, troy.davis@duvallwa.gov

3-28-17 CFD Meeting Recap

We had a great turnout for our meeting last night at Longevity Foods. We welcomed special guests Councilmember Walker, Councilmember Nixon and Richard Wieneke from Trinity Real Estate, a development company. Guests like these are key to our meetings as they provide critical information and balance to our discussions, which are more likely to lead to solutions.

Members from our sub groups delivered meeting notes from the Surface and Stormwater meeting as well as reminders about the City Park Open House tonight (http://www.facebook.com/events/101950133675547) and that the Public Hearing for the Big Rock Annexation 10% Petition is open until April 4th.

What is the economics of growth? When new developments are completed in Duvall, the City inherits assets such as streets, stormwater facilities and parks. It’s easy to be distracted by the gift-like nature of these assets, but they all cost money to maintain and repair them. What happens when multiple assets need to be replaced around the same time frame in a few decades? Most likely tax revenue from the homes that those assets were made exclusively for will not come close to the repair or replacement cost. So the cost of repair or replacement is funded by all taxpayers of the City. But everyone’s neighborhood has those kinds of assets so why say stop subsidizing new growth assets now? Because it’s not financially sound and it’s irresponsible to continue pushing the problem for the next group of people to deal with. What is the solution? We need to evaluate the impact fees we charge developments as well as the systems we allow them to use. During our discussion, Councilmember Walker suggested it would be good for the City to do a case study on the North Hill development (by the High School) to evaluate if we are receiving enough from our impact fees to cover the cost of the assets the City chooses to accept. Councilmember Nixon thought a case study was a good idea, but was concerned about staff working loads and if a consultant would be needed, costs, etc. Councilmember Walker said it would take one afternoon with a staff member to answer a few questions about information already assembled, then we could make the calculations. There will be more on this in the future.

We discussed the proposed park impact fee increase as it has not yet been decided on by the City Council and fits perfectly in this discussion. It is currently proposed that the City adopt the lower end of the fee range. The lower end of the fee range is based on omitting projects we anticipate in the City. By doing so, we would be choosing to not save for future projects and that, to me anyways, is the whole point of a park impact fee. We are asking developers to pay towards projects the City will need to conceptualize and complete in response to a growing population brought in by new developments. Mr. Wieneke, a developer, said he didn’t think the increase was a big deal and that good parks were key to selling a new home and lifestyle to clients. It was mentioned that Duvall is a unique island of a City in its isolation from other cities. For example, people living in Sammamish and Issaquah use each others parks and amenities, but in Duvall we would have to drive a distance to use another city’s park. This was brought up as a point when comparing Duvall’s park impact fees to other cities cited on the staff presentation slideshow (https://citizensforduvall.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/park-impact-fee-presentation/). Since the decision has not yet been made by Council, if you have an opinion on the park impact fee, please email them: will.ibershof@duvallwa.gov, amy.ockerlander@duvallwa.gov, becky.nixon@duvallwa.gov, dianne.brudnicki@duvallwa.gov, leroy.collinwood@duvallwa.gov, scott.thomas@duvallwa.gov, jason.walker@duvallwa.gov

Traffic was a hot topic as it relates to new development. Councilmember Nixon said that King County has no intention, no plan or no funding to ever fix the Novelty Hill bottleneck. There is also no current plan or source of funding to fix 124th flooding. There has been a lot of discussion about possible solutions, but it’s a long way out, if ever. How does this relate to the economics of growth? Even as Duvall brings in new housing developments, it will never generate enough new taxes to solve the traffic nightmares. We can’t count on King County to bail us out if we overgrow our roads. The traffic impact fee that developers pay only covers traffic impacts within City Limits. Transportation impact fees do not cover the commuter transportation issue, as this lies outside of City Limits. Keep this in mind if you are assured that transportation concerns are addressed in the transportation plan.

Just like any group we can get a bit off track from the specific subject we gathered to discuss but it’s all good! It helps show what future meeting topics should be. A lot came up about new development and traffic as well as businesses in Duvall and the struggles they face. Our next meeting in late April will focus on transportation, which will be a nice primer for the next City Town Hall on May 17 focusing on exactly that topic.

 

3-21-17 City Council Meeting Recap

The videos from this City Council Meeting are available on the CFD YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSX4x6EbBCVSGqd0F77rSAGez1UyzGuXn  When the audio is uploaded to the City website, you’ll be able to find it here: http://www.duvallwa.gov/AgendaCenter

The general feedback from the City’s first Town Hall, held last week and well attended, was very good. The staff had already started a list of what they would improve for next time. But this event was a great starting point. Anyone who did not make it to the Town Hall can still take the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/townhallduvall

The Director of Public Works, Boyd Benson, gave the Main Street Project Update. The joint utility trench work is done which is a milestone for the project. Re-grading Kennedy Street is scheduled to begin April 3rd. If you want to hear all the details, please go to 34:25 in the Part 1 video on the YouTube link above.

The Fire Chief, David Burke, gave an update about how busy they were, in part due to the weather, the last two months. They are collaborating with the City of Duvall, Eastside Fire, Snoqualmie Fire, the Carnation-Duvall Citizen Corp and several other groups for an earthquake drill on Saturday, September 30. The fire district has 7 new volunteer candidates and one new career firefighter.

The Big Rock Annexation 10% Petition continued (YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 2, 12:42) through this meeting and will close on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. If the public has additional comments, please show up to the April 4th Council Meeting at 7pm and speak. The developer applicant brought a new site plan after hearing feedback from the City. The staff has not yet reviewed this site plan, but you can view it below:

NEW BIG ROCK ANNEX SITE PLAN

Below you will find the previously submitted site plan:

bigrockannexationsketch

The Public Hearing for the Emergency Moratorium on Residential Development opened (YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 2, 19:36) Two different developers spoke, asking the council to allow the moratorium to expire rather than extend it longer. One citizen spoke in support of the moratorium to allow the Comprehensive Plan Updates to be completed.

The Councilmembers voted by matrix to narrow the applicant field to three for the Duvall City Council Vacant Position #5 (YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 3, 0:00). The three applicants moving forward are: Gary Gill, Michelle Hogg and Richard Wilson.

Now being roughly 30 days into a 60 day moratorium, Council was asked to direct staff regarding options for the Emergency Moratorium on Residential Development (YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 3, 4:08). The City Staff’s recommendation to Council was to extend the moratorium to an inclusive 6 month period.

The Park Impact Fee was discussed (YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 3, 20:45). There was concern of the high amount of the fee, countered by the issue of under collecting and not having adequate funding.

Both resolutions approving the Cherry Valley Village Final Long Plat and the Allen Street Village Final Long Plat were unanimously approved by the Council.

The scheduled discussion of the Big Rock Annexation 10% Petition was left on the agenda for unfinished business as the public hearing stays open until the next Council Meeting on April 4th, 2017.

At the beginning of the meeting Councilmember Nixon requested that “Council’s Responsibilities and Roles” be added to the end of the agenda, which was accepted by the Mayor and Council. I will not be summarizing the content of the discussion here, but you can watch it on YouTube video 3-21-17 City Council Meeting – Part 4, 3:18.

Old Water Tank Property Request to Rezone Back to Open Space

Dear fellow Citizens of Duvall,
During the past year neighbors in lower Duvall became aware that the City had officially rezoned the “Old water tank property” along 4th Ave from open space to residential (see attached map).  We are seeking your support in contacting our City Council Members to request they approve returning the five acre water tower property to Open Space/Park.  The City Council will be considering this change in the near future, tentatively scheduled at the April 4 Council meeting (Proposed 2017 Docket, item CPA17-003).  Here are the key points supporting this important change:
1.  The City of Duvall  owns the water tower property and approving the rezone from R4 (four residential homes per acre) to Open Space/Parks will not impact the City budget.  Selling this City owned property to a developer would be a tragic loss.     
2.  The west portion of the five acre parcel is considered a critical slope and “erosion hazard” as documented in both the Comprehensive Plan and the Shoreline Master Program.  Maintaining the trees and natural vegetation will help prevent erosion, protecting Cherry Creek that runs across the property.  
3.  The five acre parcel is a key wildlife corridor allowing deer and other wildlife to access Cherry Creek and Lake Rasmussen. 
4.  This is the last available open space with large heritage trees in lower Duvall.  A variety of birds nest and seek refuge within this natural habitat.  
5.  Many of our neighbors who purchased their homes near the “old water tank property” were specifically told by the City of Duvall that this property was a designated open space only to find out after they bought their home that the designation had been changed to R4. 
6.  Living in a small town is one of the key reasons we bought homes in Duvall and it is an important factor in the enjoyment we share as a community.  Keeping the water tower property as Open Space/Park will go a long way toward maintaining our small town feel.
7.  The City of Duvall twenty year park plan includes trails on the water tower property.  Maintaining this property as Open Space/Park will preserve this land for all of us to enjoy.  You should see the incredible valley views from the upper east end of this beautiful City property.
Our Planning Department has been supportive of this change and our Planning Commission has written the rezone into the latest update of the Comprehensive Plan.  Please contact our City Council Members to let them know you support preserving the “old water tower property” as an Open Space/Park.  Council will be voting on the Comprehensive Plan updates, which includes preserving this property at the April 4th Council meeting.
Thank you,
Mike Remington, Duvall Resident
Updated: 3/22/2017
Editor Addition: Here is a map of the property discussed as well as an easy copy/paste list of who you can send your opinion to: will.ibershof@duvallwa.gov, amy.ockerlander@duvallwa.gov, becky.nixon@duvallwa.gov, dianne.brudnicki@duvallwa.gov, leroy.collinwood@duvallwa.gov, scott.thomas@duvallwa.gov, jason.walker@duvallwa.gov
old water tank site

NIMBY

The title might have caught your attention either because you do know or because you are curious, what is NIMBY? NIMBY is an acronym for Not In My Back Yard. I thought I would take the time to write about this because while it’s not a meeting recap or an important decision before the City, it comes up often. The idea behind NIMBY is often that some sort of change, usually a new development, next to a person’s house or neighborhood can be upsetting. A young forest that you fell in love with when you bought your house will be cut and replaced with houses and new plantings. You might feel you’ll lose privacy with new neighbors just over your fence. More people means more traffic, more crowding in schools, etc. On the flipside of those feelings are the excitement of a growing community and more neighbors to meet and develop friendships.

Citizens For Duvall was founded on the idea that in order to have a strong voice in our community and at City Council meetings, we need to come together and support each other with issues that matter to us as individuals and smaller groups. For example when the North Urban Growth Area (NUGA) was the topic of discussion and decision at the City Council meetings, I voiced my opinion to the Council. I don’t live anywhere near the NUGA, but I added my voice to support those who do. I know our Council listens to the closest neighborhoods and does not discount NIMBY opinions, but I think that opinions from citizens not affected directly by new developments are invaluable. They might provide a more objective perspective and they may agree with the affected neighborhood or disagree. For those who share the view of an affected neighborhood and voice their opinion in support, it strengthens the community bonds. Knowing others will stand and support you even when they are not personally affected grows a community in ways that timber and cement cannot.

So next time you hear people cry “NIMBY!”, rather than dismiss or scoff, take a moment to listen to their concerns and read about the issue. You may find you agree with them or disagree, but either way you’ll be appreciated for taking the time to find out and add your voice to the group. Those who already chime in regularly with their perspectives, you are pillars in our community and set the framework for others to join in more easily. Keep reaching out to your neighbors and find out what is important to them. Start more conversations and celebrate diversity in all aspects, including opinions.

Written by Amy McHenry