Letter to the Editor: Centralia’s growth must be carried out in an orderly manner

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With my entire community and immediate environment, we oppose the development project located at 635 W. Reynolds Ave. While the signage on the project implies a small portion to be developed on a vacant lot in the corner, this is highly misleading and the total project covers more than the proposed 21 hectares at High Density, R-20. While I can appreciate the growth and development of Lewis County and the city of Centralia, growth has to be done in a thoughtful and practical way.

As we have seen with recent crimes including bank robberies, assaults, thefts, trespasses and other crimes that are more commonly seen in big cities, the growth of this area needs to be done on a regular basis.

That this project is even being considered shows that rapid development is not good development. The project is within a known flooded area and was under several feet of water just a few months ago. We all live here. We all saw it. The property is also located in known wetlands, in identified critical aquifers that the city uses for water, and some properties even have small salmon spawning areas.

The development of this property will cause increased flooding to homes across more than 21 acres. My house was built 112 years ago and it never flooded. My neighbors have been in Centralia for five generations and their house has not flooded.

More than 21 acres on the 635 Reynolds property should not be developed as it is a known area of ​​wetland that assists annually with flood control here and the area around Centralia.

Anyone driving in Reynolds during the last flood to get around the city will be cut off because the water just came up onto the bridge a few months ago. The proposed property development will put water over Reynolds when Coffee Creek reaches maximum capacity each year as is.

This will cut off the fire and medical services as well.

Increased development in this flooded area should not be considered as one can see from a Lewis County Assessor package search for 635 Reynolds Ave. The map includes layers that clearly do not support property development: Critical areas, 2007 floods, wetlands, FEMA flood areas, river buffers, shoreline environments, critical aquifer catchment areas and hydric soils all overlap with this project.

I am not against development, but development cannot be used to harm others. Development for the benefit of the developer as well as damaging the surrounding community cannot be tolerated.

Jeremy Ashbeck


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