Elephant in Wheeler

Submitted By: deanne.ragnell@gmail.com – Click to email about this post
Or the big issue concerning Wheeler
The recent notice that was distributed regarding a meeting for Wheeler candidates stipulated: “that there could be no discussion of projects that had been applied for on the Wheeler waterfront.” ……..

The question is …..Why Not?
The fact is that the Wheeler waterfront and a proposed development there, has been the primary topic of meetings, agendas, hearings and legal appeals and a law suit for the past several years. Any attempts to dismiss this issue as un-important to this community completely ignores THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!

This waterfront project was originally denied by the Planning Commission in 2020 because there was insufficient evidence to show that it was in compliance with the Wheeler laws and the applicable environmental, geo-technical and certified architectural studies on the site had not been done. The city council (on which candidate Bell served ) overturned the Planning Commission’s decision and gave the developer a green light to go ahead, thereby ignoring all the studies required to support approval of the project. LUBA has confirmed twice that the original denial by the Planning Commission was justified and that the vote of Mr. Bell and his council members to discount the provisions of the Vision Plan was in error.

For the past two years Mayor Honeycutt and the current council have worked to try to find resolution and compromise with the developer. Unfortunately his response has been to litigate.

Mr. Bell has attempted to label me and others as being anti-development. Not so! Being “pro” or “anti” development isn’t the issue. The question is, does the development follow the law? Adherence by city government to the laws of the town is the only assurance that citizens have, that development in their town will happen within the mandated guidelines. City representatives not complying with our laws – or as one candidate has been overheard to say “bend them” is a dangerous proposition for the town.

The “candidate forum” organized and paid for by Mike Anderson, (former planning commissioner) was scheduled with the two candidates he has been working with, who support the large scale development. Mr. Anderson failed to verify the availability of any of the others prior to announcing the meeting on the candidate’s doorsteps, and he denied a request to re-schedule. He also stipulated what could not be discussed, thereby controlling the meeting by design.

I committed to supporting the voice of citizens and the laws which were put into place to preserve many of the aspects of our small town livability; this includes many important items not just development. I will not betray the community’s priorities. I will support change and development that is in keeping with those laws.

Please vote with care for Wheeler city council……

Deanne Ragnell
Candidate for Wheeler City Council