I have to take exception, however, with his editorial in today's Daily News.
Proposed development in the corridor between Pullman and Moscow is not a new issue.Why does it make sense? The only other "players" are rabid Moscow anti-growthers and Moscow businesses eager to keep their retail monopoly. Why waste time soliciting their "input", when it will only be universally against ANY development in the corridor? When people give input, they expect it will be followed. In the case of the corridor, it won't. The die is cast. How does further expenditure of hot air "enhance the public process". It only leads to public rancor and frivolous and costly legal appeals.
The Whitman County commissioners have been talking about it for more than a decade and have chiseled away at various portions of the corridor zoning code in recent years. While county commissioners in Colfax have a pretty clear idea of what they want to see in the corridor, it's become apparent not everyone is in tune with that vision.
Leaders in Whitman County should seize this opportunity to bring everyone up to speed.
There's a good deal of competitiveness in the arena of economic development. Individual entities want the tax dollars generated by new business and sometimes the cards are held fairly close to the chest.
But economic development also has a regional element, and that's where the Whitman County commissioners could open the door to a conversation with other civic leaders on the Palouse who have an interest in how the corridor grows.
The development proposed for the corridor gives them the perfect opportunity.
While they may not want to get into a back-and-forth debate over the Hawkins development that's in the planning stages just west of the Idaho state line, the conversation the proposal has generated indicates a significant regional interest in the eight-mile stretch of road between Pullman and Moscow.
It mirrors the interest displayed at public hearings in the late '90s when Whitman County implemented its zoning code for the area. We don't expect the county commissioners to rehash the debates that preceded that decision, but bringing everyone to the table for an exchange of opinions and ideas could enhance the public process as growth occurs in the corridor.
Plans for expansion of the Pullman-Moscow Highway are closer to fruition than many folks around her likely ever expected. When the highway goes to four lanes, we expect there will be more proposals appearing before the Whitman County commissioners.
In the end, the Whitman County commissioners will have the final say on the corridor. It makes sense for commissioners to share their goals for the area before that growth occurs and take input from the other players in the region - even if they ultimately choose a different path.
There have already been years of public hearings and debate on the corridor. Just because some people thought no one would ever actually develop there is no excuse to reopen the controversy. ENOUGH! Let's get going.