Letter To The Editor – Christina Stanley

Dear Editor:
On Monday March 14th , 2022, there was a continuation of the city council public hearing regarding Agile Homes request to change zoning regulations for Zones B & B1 in Weiser. After the public hearing at the regular city council meeting, this request did not move forward. Several Council members acknowledged that Weiser does have a housing problem, but this zoning change would have done nothing to alleviate it and would have affected the entire city.

In the past few months, I have been very vocal about my opposition to growth in the form of sub- divisions in Weiser. I, like many others moved here to get away from overcrowding and cookie cutter neighborhoods. However, the reality is that there is already approval for two new sub-divisions with approximately two-hundred homes to be built. These two sub-divisions represent approximately a ten percent increase in the number of houses in Weiser. Growth at a pace that Weiser hasn’t seen in many decades and growth that does not reflect what makes Weiser special.

What makes Weiser special is that for the most part, no matter what street you travel in Weiser, you will find a community of homes and properties of all shapes and sizes. Homes ranging in size from under five hundred square feet to over five thousand and residential lots in the four thousand square feet range to many acres. These homes and lots are in sub-divisions, or additions, as they were called in the past. Not all lots were the same size and not every house was the same, this is what gives Weiser a unique look and neighborhood feel. This also makes a blended community that is inclusive of all residents from the first-time homeowner, the growing family, the retirees and the widow or empty nesters who wish to downsize.

Currently, duplication of what we already have in Weiser is not possible within the minimum requirements for new construction. The minimum home size requirement is a one thousand square foot home, and the minimum lot size is seventy-two hundred square feet. With these requirements there will not be a single home built in Weiser under three hundred thousand dollars, which does nothing to improve the housing situation.

I understand the need for zoning regulations in creating orderly growth, but when did it become a function of government to decide how small of a house someone should live in or what size piece of property? If someone wants to build a small home on a small lot, and it is in keeping with the current zoning regulations and architecture of the neighborhood and does not infringe on neighboring properties, why shouldn’t they have that right? The biggest argument I hear against this is it brings down property values. I have a large home and the two houses next to mine are less than a third the size and neither has affected the value of my home. Another argument is that people will build these homes and turn them into rentals. What is wrong with that? Many of us have lived in rentals at one point in our lives and not everyone wants to be a homeowner.

I want developers who are willing to be creative and offer viable housing solutions. I want developers who are willing to put the “cookie cutters” away, and build homes of all shapes, sizes, and styles. I want builders who are willing to stand up and fight for the right to build homes that fit the needs of many and not just a few. If new development is going to continue, I want our county and city leaders to be open to change, or in this case, be open to reversing the changes that have made home ownership and housing in general, unaffordable and some cases unattainable in Weiser.

Sincerely,
Christina Marie Stanley

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