With all due respect to groundhogs everywhere on their national day of honor, February is the season of love. The branches are bare but the promise of blossoms rests just beneath our feet. Soon Valentine cards, heart-shaped boxes and bright flowers will provide the warmth of love to carry our hearts into spring, a season of hope with the assurance of renewal.
My earliest memories of the Key Peninsula begin along the shores of Henderson Bay in the 1970s. We drove across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma to a waterfront restaurant in Purdy named Pearls by the Sea. We ate our fill of clams and oysters, happily blinded by the setting sun.
Who could have imagined today’s endless stream of traffic across that Purdy Bridge? Times have changed but one thing is clear: more people live here today and the idea that growth will stop is simply unimaginable.
The passion to preserve and protect the quality of life we enjoy here begins shortly after we arrive. For many transplants, the places we left behind grew unrecognizable before we made the move.
Who wouldn’t want to guard against spoiling the life-sustaining marine environment that surrounds and delights us? Or the native plants that sing in harmony with towering trees? Newcomers are filled with wonder at this magical place but are aghast at thoughtless litter. Protective feelings are natural when surrounded by such loveliness.
That feeling grows even stronger as we begin to tap into the depth and character of the community. One acquaintance leads to another and, before you know it, this is home and where your heart lives.
How did the indigenous people react to the settlers who began arriving around 1850? And what of their descendants remaining here today? Was it better before we came?
The need to manage growth is pressing. How do we preserve opportunities for everyone to enjoy this rich quality of life without destroying it? Is it possible? Who decides which kind of growth is too much?
The Key Peninsula Community Plan was adopted in 2007 after assessing the conditions at that time, along with identifying the goals, objectives and values of the community. The 20-year vision is a guide to developing policies to achieve shorter-term goals while keeping the bigger picture in mind. It is not a one-time thing set in stone forever, but flexible enough to set aside additional land for parks and recreation as community priorities change. The Pierce County Council has already adopted amendments to regulations affecting shoreline, agricultural resource land, logging, public nuisance properties and more in tandem with Pierce County’s Comprehensive Plan.
A current battle rages between the group “No on HRC” that objects to the proposed location of Hope Recovery Center (see “Hope Recovery Center: Progress and Pushback,” KP News, January 2019). Group leaders agree the need for addiction treatment is real but argue that the proposed location is inconsistent with its Rural 10-acre zoning and that the facility would be best sited in a Rural Activity Center like Key Center or Lake Kathryn Village.
KP News requested and received letters from opposition members, including Caleb Lystad and Tracy Geiss (Letters, page 8). The group maintains a Facebook page sharing their passion with the unifying message “Save Our KP—No on HRC—Zoning Matters.” Signs are popping up all over the KP.
On the other growth-related issue this month, the Peninsula School District bond measure, KP News received no letters from KP residents opposing it. We proactively sought out KP voices and spoke with plenty of people who are opposed, but no Key Penners were willing to go on record despite voicing opposition on social media. Instead we published the single letter we received opposing the school bond from Fox Island activist Dan White (Letters, page 8).
January was a month of extremes during unprecedented times for all Americans. If you find yourself still clutching a pitchfork, please drop it. This Valentine’s Day, my humble love note to you asks that we be patient with ourselves and each other, and that we allow the steadfast nature of the true love we feel for family and friends to spill over into our broader community.