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Land-use planning can be a nightmare

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Dear HCN,

As a Seattle-suburbs hobby farmer (horses), widow of a lawyer, mother of four college graduates, and (unpaid) legislative liaison for the King County Property Rights Alliance, I am also one of those "people with an ideological predisposition who are most vulnerable to independence, anti-government and property rights slogans." (Hoo-ha!)

The condescension of the professional planners quoted in your Dec. 26 article on Montanans' rebellion against government control of private land is unbelievable. But not surprising, given my own experience with those same planner types here. Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming majority of liberal voters in Seattle whose expressed desire - -vision," they call it - is to preserve unsullied our private land for their weekend touring enjoyment, we rural landowners came out the big losers in our own recently adopted comprehensive plan.

That plan controls our land use from the width of riparian corridors and wetlands buffers (from which our livestock must be fenced) to the requirement for clustering of the miniscule amount of rural housing allowed after our massive downzonings, with 60-80 percent of our land to be left in untouchable native growth.

The plan pays lip service to promoting farming and forestry, but the back-to-pre-European-natural-vegetation preservation/restoration requirements of that same plan preclude the clearing that is essential for new farms, and hampers existing farming/forestry. There are over 160 pages in the comprehensive plan, plus an inch-and-a-half stack of implementing development regulations, all of which leave us with little but the right to watch the brush grow and pay ever-rising taxes. The controls apply to unincorporated King County, comprising around 80 percent of the county's land area.

How High Country News ever garnered a reputation for being "balanced" I don't know. Its articles/editorials reflect the elitist, control-all attitude of professional planners/environmental extremists whose demands are rapidly decimating both our constitutional rights and our nation's economy.

Maxine Keesling

Woodinville, Washington

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