On Monday, October 16 this writer attended the Yelm Planning Commission Meeting at 4pm covering 2 major agenda items:
1. Adopting a Sustainable Development Statement for the City.
City Development Director Grant Beck proposed this statement for the Planning Commision to adopt:
“A community that thoughtfully provides for the needs of its residents, with efficiency and stewardship for the future.”
The Planning Commission agreed to accept this statement with future revisions. Commissioner Carlos Perez provided the only “nay” vote on the motion for adoption, stating this definition does not have enough “omph” as he characterized the presentation.
Yelm area resident Bill Hashim asked to address the commissioners and was allowed to speak publicly. He stated that he is a 30 year veteran of environmental planning and shared on the record he has worked with the principles of sustainable development for the last 15 years.
He offered this statement to the Planning Commission in contrast to Mr. Beck’s:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Mr. Hashim told the Yelm Community Blog in this exclusive interview:
“It [the statement I presented for the record] is a standard, universal statement about sustainable growth. Nearly every communitiy statement I have seen is a variation of this. What makes it particularly useful is the knowledge of what a generational need is:
environment, community, and lifestyle.
We know what we need in order to be sustained so we can make a fairly educated guess that future generations will need the same. Thus, we can make a series of sound goals, objectives, and indicators on whether we are achieving those or not, for not only ourselves but for our future.
He continued about Yelm’s statement,
“It’s not progressive. I’ve never seen that statement anywhere in the literature.
Yelm’s “endorsed” definition is so obtuse it is rendered useless. I have no idea what it means and can make no future sense of it. In order to protect the needs of future generations, how do we do that with “efficiency and stewardship for the future.” What does efficiency mean; what does stewardship mean in this context. I know the standard definition but can’t make any sense of how to apply that for a sustainable future. In addition, communities all over the nation are struggling with sustainable indicators –
Yelm has none in place even before a even considering this as a sustainable definition.”
He summarized by saying the statement adopted by the Planning Commission has no definition of what Yelm’s commitment to Sustainable Development is and there is no accountability for assessing if Yelm is meeting the definition’s goals.
2. The Thurston Highlands update presented was from the developers own publication.