May 19, 2011 by wcobserver
By Steve Winkler
Several newly installed West Fork planning commission members toured the city last week. The purpose, according to Mayor Frances Hime, was, “to orient planning commission members to subdivision names, location, age and their unique characteristics.” She added that members should be aware of “how development affects the city budget and population.”
West Fork’s subdivisions are of varying ages and sizes. West Fork Acres and Valley View date back to the ‘70s and ‘80s. More recent residential developments include Riverdale, Riverwood, Hidden Valley, Graystone and Woodlands subdivisions.
Woodlands subdivision on Dairy Farm Road has a Property Owners Association (POA) and is out of the city’s control on many issues. It is served by Washington Water Authority but because of low pressure the subdivision relies on water trucks from West Fork, according to Hime. Woodlands has larger mostly brick homes located on a gravel surface street without sidewalks or gutters.
Streets in Hidden Creek are below the elevation of the houses. Graystone subdivision off McKnight has many unsold lots, an unkempt appearance and deteriorating erosion control barriers. It is also without sidewalks or streetlights and has an unfenced drainage catch basin.
Several subdivisions have spawned disagreements related to survey encroachments and drainage problems according to Hime. The city is also compiling a by- ward inventory of vacant and derelict properties including a list of older people who might need help with home maintenance.
One of those touring planning commission members was David Jones who told the Observer he found the tour very rewarding and informative. The challenge, he suggested, would involve “updating ordinances.”
The mayor said she was pleased with the tour, noting that several expressed surprise and said they learned a great deal. She said, “I think it helped to impress on them the importance of their role.”