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How Yelm’s 594 new water hook-ups impact our area

While the Top Story on the website of the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) says the “Department of Health Approves New Water Connections for Yelm,” their story speaks nothing of the impacts these 594 new water hook-ups will have on our area.
Here are some facts to consider:

– Population
Let’s look at how almost 600 new water hook-ups will affect Yelm’s population.
The average household is estimated to have 4 persons, which means an estimated 2,400 new people in Yelm.

In 1990, Yelm’s population was 1,337 (1990 Census).
In 2000, Yelm’s population was 3,289 (2000 Census).
In 2005, when Mr. Harding was elected Yelm’s mayor, the population was 4,455.
In 2010, Yelm’s population was 6,850 (2010 census), with 2,299 households.
In 2013, Yelm’s population was estimated at 7,639.
In 2015, Yelm’s population is estimated to top over 8,000.
By the time the next mayor takes the oath of office in January 2017, the City of Yelm is estimated to have between 9,000-10,000 residents, more than doubling the population since Mayor Haring took office in January 2006.

For each of two decades, the City of Yelm more than doubled the population:
– from 1990-2000,
– from 2000-2010.
Then, the city’s unbridled growth policies sped-up the growth process by 5 years in more than doubling the population from 2006-2016 (estimated).
One can therefore easily see that 600 new water hook-ups will cause Yelm to easily reach a population of 10,000.

– Households
The average household is estimated to have 4 persons and at least 2 vehicles.
Since Yelm has little industrial/commercial growth, the new additional water hook-ups will primarily be issued for residences.
If 600 new residences have an average of 2 vehicles, then there are at least 1,200 additional vehicles on the road to go to work 5 days a week and with at least 2 car trips per workday (to work, return from work), that’s 2,400 additional vehicle trips on our already clogged city’s roads. Yet drivers leave their homes daily for other reasons (errands, entertainment, shopping), adding to even more vehicle trips on our streets.

– “Non-Business Friendly”
As the NVN story stated, the City of Yelm commends their “comprehensive water management strategy” in keeping “water use in the city was the same in 2014 as it was in 2005, even as the city has grown.” However, Yelm’s “comprehensive water management strategy” imposed mandatory water irrigation restrictions on businesses to conserve enough water to be able to get the Dept. of Health to issue more water hook-ups.
The water conservation was primarily placed onto the backs of Yelm businesses.
This is another reason the city has been labeled “non-business friendly.”

– Infrastructure
Think about how is the City of Yelm going to handle a population of over 10,000 persons?
– Traffic impact on area roads?
– Water distribution system impacts?
– Sewage handling impacts?
– Adequate police and fire protection, departments which are currently maxed and in need of staffing?
– Quality of life (i.e more traffic means more air pollution, more time spent in traffic)?

While city officials are heralding the clarion call for more growth here, are the consequences being downplayed or altogether ignored?
I have been on-record for over 10 years stating I am not against growth, yet for “smart growth” in alignment with quality of life and the environment.

Posted by Steve on May 4, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

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