I live on an Island, as most of you already know, and that island was zoned rural farmland for so many many years. That is what attracted us to stay here, versus going to a bigger city to live.
Dad liked the rural feel of the place, and as children we were allowed to go out side and play anywhere we wanted. We just had to be home for dinner. We got out on the road with our bikes and rode for hours! We were safe, and the biggest town on the island was Oak Harbor with 3000 people. That even counted the base! The city limits of Oak HArbor could be seen by standing at Chimes Corner and looking all around you. There was no part of the city that was farther away than 2 miles.
Tourists discovered the place in the late 70's and the developers were not far behind.
Island County has a Board of commissioners that regulates development, but unfortunatly they were also related to the builders and developers. OUr Town Mayor was also into Real Estate, and had relatives who were contractors. Needless to say, our farmland was rezoned and sold to the highest bidder. That lasted for a few years, and then a law was passed that said they could not develop more than 5 acres and in some places 2.5 acres. So these too were bought up and built upon. Now Oak Harbor has grown so big and so fast, that it has had to co-opt the surrounding land into the city limits. Now from one end of town to the other could be 10 miles! these newly acquired parcels were sold to developers, who have built homes right on top of each other, back yard to backyard, and shoulder to shoulder.
THe average home price 15 years ago was 100,000 and I bought my home out in the county, under the flight pattern of the auxilliary airbase, for 97,500. It is a very modest 1400 SF home on a fairly large lot. But I am shoulder to shoulder with the houses on either side.
The voters of Island COunty have been voting down tax increases, and only a few precincts actually voted in a school levy or a fire levy. Island County is getting frustrated by trying to provide services to everyone, when no one was allowing increases to pass. So they got even. This year when we all got our tax assesments, we saw that our homes have improved in value as much as 25% in one year! My modest little home is now valued at 193,500! WHAT!!!!!
I retired here because I knew that what I would be getting would pay my mortgage and leave me enough to live on comfortably. Now, since the increase in value, our taxes are rising, (remember, we pay a certain percent or portion of a percent per 1000, of value, for each item with their hand in the pot.) So now my taxes have skyrocketed, my interest rate has risen, and my pay has stayed the same.
With all of the building and selling of houses that we are seeing on this island, soon the average price of a home will be close to 400,000! That is not an exageration!
Greed has caused all of this. Greed of the developers who have lured the farmers and their heirs to sell their land, greed of the contractors who are working for the developers, greed of the people coming up from California with tons of money in their pockets from selling their 900 sf home for 1/2 a million dollars and buying a 3500 SF home with the money they got. Greed Greed Greed! It is becoming so bad that the average person will not be able to afford to own their own home.
THere was an item on the news just this evening about a mobile home park for Seniors that was sold to developers. THey will of course throw away the mobile homes, and build condos on the land. Meanwhile the owner of the lot just got rich, and and developers are getting richer, while the Seniors now have no place to go, no funds to move their mobiles into another lot if they could find an empty space, and are now soon to homeless.
Something has to happen to stop this insanity. We have got to realize that bigger is not better, and have got to have low income, SAFE places for seniors and others to live. I may not be able to afford my home much longer, and I looked into getting a mobile...80,000!!! SHIT! and that was before the lot fee and the skirting!
I do not know what the answer is or should be, But we as a country had better find a suitable solution soon! Just how many houses need to be built? And where are all the people coming from that are moving into these new houses? and what has happened to the houses they moved out of? I do not see a lot of empties sitting around, so they are not all being torn down.
I am hanging on by my fingernails, but they are breaking, and I may soon have to sell and move in with DOnna.