The Importance of Protecting Historic Treasures

Lynn Stevenson | Letter to the Editor | Penninsula Gateway | March 2, 2017

The Cheney Foundation intends to install a high-density, gated residential development that deviates significantly from our current zoning regulations of the Haub parcel. Three other separate potential buyers have notified the Haub family of their interest in purchasing the property and preserving the Heron Triangle as a park.

Currently, this property is lush with trees and thriving with life. It contains a unique ecosystem that has been here for generations. But we conveniently overlook or understate the important role these ecosystems play in our lives. We all know that trees give us oxygen — although sometimes I think we actually forget this simple but vital fact. Our air in the Harbor is cleaner because of this thick concentration of trees, which are continuously absorbing pollution and odors. The property also filters stormwater runoff and prevents pollutants from draining into our bay. It is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and a comfortable nesting ground for visiting herons and other birds.

However, last week’s guest columnist in Gig Harbor Life labeled this land “vacant” and stated: “As it is now, it benefits few.” Well, the way I see it, as it is now, it clearly benefits many — every resident, every visitor, local wildlife, the bay, Puget Sound, and our entire Downtown. Who exactly will benefit from turning it into a housing development?

Trees buffer noise, adding to the priceless sense of peace and tranquility that we still feel in downtown Gig Harbor. You know what definitely does not absorb noise and odors or filter air and stormwater runoff? Buildings with concrete foundations, parking lots and multiple vehicles.

Consider the impression that visitors have when they drive down Soundview Drive and are greeted by this wonderful urban forest. What message are we sending if they are instead greeted by yet another, predictable gated community like you find everywhere else?


We are fortunate to have this rare treasure available in our downtown and it should be regarded with the same respect and concern for preservation that we bring to our waterfront parks and other historic landmarks.


We are disturbingly close to losing this irreplaceable jewel forever. Let us preserve this small remnant of the past and boast to future generations that we valued our natural environment as much as we understood the need to grow.

 


The next DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS meeting is: 

Plng & Blg Committee   Mon - Mar 20, 2017 - 5:30 pm

Gig Harbor Civic Center | 3510 Grandview Street

The meeting will focus on the Public Input Process for Development Agreements. Public Comment will be allowed. (Committee Councilmembers: Paul Kadzik | Steve Ekberg | Rahna Lovrovich)