First, it seems that the continuing delay in loosening up the Whitman County rural housing ordinance (fields must lay fallow for three year before any development can occur) has done some serious damage. Plans for a housing project north of Colfax with 203 lots were scrapped by the developer last week. This after the Colfax City Council had accepted an annexation petition. According to the Gazette:
The Colfax annexation proposal reportedly evolved after a representative of the Arizona firm discovered the county's restrictions and was about to drop the project before taking it to Colfax city officials.This is devastating to Colfax, which has been struggling as of late. Mayor Norma Becker noted that the project would have brought in more children to the Colfax schools and more customers for Colfax businesses.
The story stated that the developer dropped the proposal because it "didn't meet the standards they require," but my guess is they got tired of the BS involved with building anything in Whitman County. Remember what Ed Schweitzer said a few weeks back about Whitman County having a "restrictive business climate."
There was another front page story about how more of the Whitman County 0.08 fund is being devoted to development in the Pullman-Moscow corridor. That fund is generated from 0.08 of sales and use taxes collected in the county and amounts to about $300,000 a year. The money is then doled out as economic development grants, often to smaller towns in Whitman County.
$100,000 of the fund is being earmarked for the corridor this year. The Gazettereported:
"We're going to have to start holding some money back," Finch said.Give it up Moscow. We in Whitman County have got the bit between our teeth on corridor development and no amount of appeals you can make will stop us.
Commissioner Les Wigen agreed. Finch said the commission wants to be able to step up in investing in corridor growth, which will ultimately put more money in the 0.08 fund if growth occurs as planned, since the fund is tied to sales taxes.
"That will be the economic engine that will drive the whole county," Finch predicted on corridor developments.
With large projects in sight for the corridor, issues such as water supply, traffic and emergency services are also on the horizon...