Seek growth, preserve access

Published 8:41 pm Sunday, April 15, 2007

By Staff
It looks like Washington may have turned the corner.
Depending on who is doing the talking, the city is making the right turn or the city is making the wrong turn. Growth and change, like beauty, apparently is in the eye of the beholder.
The Buoy Tender Station condominium project is going up quickly. A pile driver is driving beams into the ground at the Moss Landing residential project. The rubble at the Washington Center site — future home of commercial and residential development — at the southeast corner of Bridge and West Third streets is being removed.
Whether one agrees with the projects or opposes them, they are signs things are beginning to happen in Washington. Those projects, once completed, will result in more tax revenue for the city, which could use the extra money. They will provide jobs. They are providing employment — someone’s doing the site preparation work and construction jobs at these projects.
And whether some people like it or not, they are signs Washington is growing — progressing, if you will.
Let’s not forget the Bridge Harbor project, a residential development proposed for the former Waters Oil Co. site on the southeast side of the U.S. Highway 17 bridge across the Pamlico River. The land, about 5.89 acres, was purchased by Bridge Harbor, LLC for development.
The developers want to build two eight-story buildings that would house a total of 42 condominiums. The proposal also includes a clubhouse, pool and 204 parking spaces. A parking garage would occupy the first level of each building.
All these development projects, and others not mentioned, indicate that people want to live, work and play in Washington. And one of the city’s attractions is the Pamlico-Tar River and access to that body of water. And with more and more people moving to the area, that access will be taxed even more than it is now.
Washington is working to do just that.
The city has developed a priority list for improvements to existing shoreline areas or acquisition of properties that will provide shoreline access to city resident and others. The six items on the list, in descending order, are as follows:
Two recent land transactions have reminded the city about the importance of providing public access to area waterways, Bobby Roberson, the city’s director of planning and development, said earlier this year.
That’s part of the reason the city is working to provide facilities that will enhance its shoreline areas and improve access to its shoreline assets.
And as development pressure continues on the city, the public needs to support these shoreline-access strategies because they will preserve and enhance the public’s access to waterways.
The city needs to grow, but at the same time it must provide and protect access to its waterways.