Enough letters in the U-B have focused on myriad problems with the proposed Bachtold annexation, so I won’t dwell on those. Yes, we need to make sure our City Council is aware of the problems with the project. But these seven people are our neighbors, and in some instances, our friends.
They invest many hours each week trying to keep the city running as we, the citizens, expect it to do, with embarrassingly small compensation. I am dismayed when I hear people say that “the City Council is in the back pocket of Hayden Homes,” or some version of that. I truly believe that these folks have the city’s best interests at heart, and whatever decision they ultimately make will be the one that they will have to live with.
As far as city staff members are concerned, those folks are doing their jobs as well as they can and have to work within the constraints of their profession, not their personal feelings.
Having said that, I have to point out that on June 13, 2018, the City Council unanimously passed the updated Walla Walla Comprehensive Plan, which was developed with countless hours of public input, city staff time, and City Council deliberation. A recent analysis of that Comprehensive Plan and the Hayden Development Analysis Application identified over 50 ways in which the development proposed for the Bachtold property runs counter to the plan. What was the point of that effort if the plan can be set aside so easily?
The Comprehensive Plan is a blueprint for Walla Walla’s next 10 years. I trust that the City Council members will honor that plan and the feelings of the people of Walla Walla. They do, after all, work for us, not Hayden Homes.