Where will the folks go who currently reside in vehicles and camp trailers along the Kane Springs Road? I’m not sure, and I regret that the property owner, after agreeing to a timeline with the county in May, did not inform the tenants until August that they would need to find alternatives. Can we as citizens ignore the whole thing? Can zoning ordinances be relaxed? Let’s think about it.
Although the residents along the river “are not hurting anyone,” what does it cost the rest of us? This is land that cannot be used to grow crops because it floods too much. Does it make sense to house people there? If there is a flood or fire, an outbreak of disease, who will be expected to respond? While it sounds heartless, our community is backed into a corner. Is this the housing we want to subsidize?
You and I pay for our community’s daily costs; schools, roads, courts, law enforcement, fire protection, public health, cemeteries, and mosquito abatement. For those who choose the river as a lifestyle, does it work for the rest of us?
For those who are forced financially into living in unapproved areas, I can only say that the county, city and housing authority are working as fast as possible to find safe and sanitary alternatives for you. While it is taking a long time, results are finally coming. Affordable housing units could be available as soon as next year.
The county is also working on an “accessory dwelling” amendment allowing small detached units on large lot parcels, as well as trying to reduce impact fees, instigate tax breaks, and other tools to make affordable housing a viable option without endangering life and safety.
While the timing of this eviction is not ideal, the county must respond to zoning issues that come to its attention. State law determines that bathrooms must exist for campgrounds. Throwing bags of garbage into the river, charging rent but not providing sanitation, or advertising illegal dwellings on the county website is not a good idea. Property owners, if you are skating on thin ice, please don’t stomp.