Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Moscow questions corridor development"

This editorial from Gordon Forgey that appeared in the January 4 issue of the Whitman County Gazette seems timely:
The city of Moscow is against the new retail development on the Pullman/Moscow corridor.

The city is concerned about water use, traffic, emergency services and a bunch of other problems the development could cause. These are justified concerns, but they seem a little insincere in light of past development within the city.

The new development, planned by a Boise company and supposedly to be anchored by a Lowes Home Improvement Center, will be in Whitman County. Although the location is near Moscow, the major concerns belong to this county, not the city across the stateline.

Moscow has long developed its retailing base. Large stores have gone up near the state line. Large stores have stretched the road from its western border to downtown. Large stores have been built on its east side. Large stores are planned to its north.

All these passed muster by the city in the past, but now that Whitman County is involved in a development of its own, it is too much for Moscow to bear.

Whitman County could use the development and the tax revenues from it. It could use the employment opportunities for its citizens. Still, the county is not pushing blindly ahead. If the same standards are being used for judging this development as has been used in other developments in the county, little will be overlooked. Whitman County is not known for being easy on land use issues.

The city of Moscow should be aware of this. Some of its own development has come from projects rejected in Whitman County. Moscow has gained the reputation of being the retail center of the Palouse. It has benefitted mightily from escape sales from Whitman County. This development, so close to Moscow, will not hurt Moscow, but for a change it could help Whitman County.

Moscow has put some stops on development within its own borders recently. Still, the corridor is a likely place for development, sitting as it does between two population centers.

Moscow and Latah County should have some involvement, at least to the degree that neither are harmed. Processes exist to protect the general good. Still, the attitude from there seems disingenuous. It is sort of like saying that now that we have ours, we are not going to let anybody else get theirs.

Whitman County, of course, needs to work with Moscow, but that cooperation cannot be allowed to stifle much needed economic growth in the county.
Well said.

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