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September 22, 1997


Inevitable balanced growth

  Throughout the past several years, my wife and I have been especially concerned about the discussions and policies affecting our town's growth and future development. I have shared some of these thoughts in the past with Councilmember, Tom Loutsis, and have also appreciated Tom's insights as well.
   Our family has lived in Duvall for 7 years and are still very happy with the decision we made when choosing this beautiful area to live in. Before settling in Duvall we owned land in the area and as such have been familiar with the happenings of our town for some years now. I meant to write this letter long ago and have now decided to actually do so.
   My wife and I do realize and understand that as a town we need to attract more commercial enterprise. It would be unrealistic to ignore this fact, although there are some who would prefer to cling to this thought. Given the increased population density of our town and number of people moving into our area growth is inevitable and must be in balance.
   We genuinely believe that our town is at the crossroads for determining the continued success or gradual decline of the future quality of life in Duvall. If commercial growth, which must come, is not properly managed it can and will be a long term detriment.
   I know it is very tempting for much needed tax revenues and other perks that new business can offer to immediately attract as many commercial enterprises to our area now. But, commercial enterprise should not be encouraged , if it is rushed, and doesn't fit into our town's plans and future goals. Doing so, will compromise the quality of life and primary reasons for why a majority of people decided to call Duvall, their home.
   If commercial growth is wisely managed, as a town, we can then expect continued prosperity and solidification of our community spirit. Conversely, without properly managed growth, our overall prosperity will decline except for those business' "raking in the dough". With unmanaged growth, many business owners would probably choose to not live here anyway, and would care less about the townspeople's quality of life, so long as business is good. Should this happen, our community spirit will be gone and relegated to something we will only remember someday or our children read about in the history books.
   It would be sad and a shameful day for Duvall's entrusted leadership to dismiss our town's cultural and historical roots for unrestricted and hastened commercial enterprise.
   As citizens, we are urging that our City Council consider some of the following thoughts:
   We must establish a Town Theme and uniform code of Architectural Style, materials, color, etc. that any new business seeking to open business in our town must follow.
   Once our Town Theme and Architectural Style are defined we must strictly adhere to its guidelines. If these guidelines are compromised we will all suffer for it and many people's efforts will be lost in vain.
   Towns such as Leavenworth (Bavarian/German,) or Winthrop (Old Western,) or more locally Edmonds (Maritime/Scandinavian,) are desirable towns because their town leaders had vision and developed a plan with resolve to follow it through. How have these small towns that have experienced growth and yet retained their identity manage to safeguard their quality of life and be commercially successful with people willing to live, visit or shop there? Because growth was well managed and the downtown business core preserved, which in turn, maintained a quality that continues to attract people from all over.
   Moreover, fundamental to these towns success were the town's strong and uncompromised leadership based on their sense of civic responsibilities. Many of us do genuinely appreciate your commitment to making our town the best it can be. Nonetheless, a reminder that our Council's decisions will be far reaching and forever affect the cultural, historical, and quality of life in Duvall and surrounding valley needs to be emphasized and at the forefront of our Duvall City Council's considerations. We already have an "Old Town" and "Country" quality in Duvall, borne of our heritage and let us not forever lose it. Rather let's enhance it with prudent decisions and a steadfast resolve to not buckle under developer's requests to bend the rules. Let us steadily and patiently ( rewards will follow) allow our town to grow with character and the appropriate commercial offerings determined by our established guidelines, quotas, and other provisions for the sake of our unique and wonderful town of Duvall, If a prospective business wanting to set-up shop in Duvall is unwilling to fit into our overall plan (theme,) fine!, I assure you others will come and "fit right in" with our town.
   Thank you for your time and consideration of these critical issues. These issues certainly affect all of us who live in Duvall and those concerned for our town's future welfare.
   Juan C. Diaz