Q: Will your policies turn this area into a Bay Area or Modesto?

Simply put, no, because I too detest the idea of sprawl. The feel and culture of our area is core to who we are. The agrarian lifestyle mixed with historic downtowns and surrounded by beautiful nature. But right now, we've been losing it piece by piece. Not because we've built homes but because we've exchanged small family businesses with franchisees, because our young and working people flee to find work, because we have lost many of the events and arts which keep things vibrant.

Without good jobs and places to live, our area will stagnate. This is especially so for those who grew up here. Just as much as those who retiring here add to our community, local families deserve to find gainful employment and a place to raise kids in a place of their own. We need investment, we need middle housing and for many reasons, we need an economy that grows.

Back to your question, there are structural reasons why we cannot become like those areas. Unlike other counties, our land use ensures we remain a rural, natural area. Everything built here (houses, roads, etc) fits into just 5% of the total land use. 75% is a national forest, more is timber preserve and Williamson agriculture land. So only about 4% remains that could be developed. Yet, much of that land isn't developed for good reason: steep slopes, rocky soil, weird location, odd parcel size, flood or fire risk, lack of utilities, etc. I am much more for in-fill development and building in our community to fix up buildings and revitalize areas, but economically usable land is likely just about 1% of what we have to work with.

In conclusion, I do believe we need growth. We need a future. We aren't a painting stuck in time. I will never let us become like the Bay or Modesto, and keeping this a place for families and careers is the best way to preserve and keep relevant our history and culture alive.

 


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