The geology of Titlow Hill -- lots of unstable sections -- makes much of it unsuitable for roads and buildings (see "Titlow Hill Blues," Feb. 18). As Fifth District Supervisor at the time, I voted for a pattern of development which I was advised would not burden the rest of the taxpayers with the costs of eventual building or road failures. There were findings made that explained the decisions.
Resource contracts under the TPZ and Williamson Acts were intended to provide economic incentives for wise management and continued range and timber production. Generous provision was made for focused development on more appropriate and stable sites, actually bending the resource protection guidelines in favor of what is now called planned unit development, with a density bonus.
The Bareilles and the Barnes hoped to make a profit by changing how the land was historically used. They were asking government to change zoning for their special interest, but it was my job to consider longterm effects on the entire community, costs and benefits to everyone.
I respect Ken Bareilles. He is a good person, and so is his wife Linda, so I personally wonder at what is accomplished by the prosecution of felony conviction against him. Punitive measures don't make things better. The county and Bareilles even now can cure this with good faith negotiation and commitment.
An underlying problem for all of us is that if people pay for land based on what they hope it is worth, rather than what its present zoned use and economic value are, then they will seek a way to pay for it by changing use.
Buy at actual value. And present use.
Eric Hedlund, Eureka
*Sweet Spot: Eric Hedlund wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.*