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Viewpoint: In CDA lawsuit, Newport loses either way

Kevin ChapdeLaine serves on Newport City Council

In regards to the Red Rock Corridor TIF issue raised by Mayor Dan Lund, I think some of his points may have merit; the problem is in his timing.

Lund's concerns should have been brought up during the planning sessions with the Washington County Community Development Agency [CDA] in 2015 and 2016, before the joint powers agreement was signed. Now the city of Newport is in danger of breaking this signed contract, which could cost Newport taxpayers over $1 million in early termination fees, and this bill will be due immediately. Imagine how that will affect your 2018 property taxes; it averages about $1,000 per household.

For 20 years development in the Red Rock Corridor didn't happen naturally so I believe Newport needs this TIF district to help spur development in this area. Personally, I'm in favor of more commercial and less residential development. And because your previous City Council did its homework when making the deal with the Washington County CDA, Newport has complete land use control. So we alone get to decide what kind of development gets built in the Red Rock Corridor, not the CDA.

This private initiative by the mayor, and the lawsuit he instigated against the CDA, is doing serious damage to Newport's reputation and creating way too much negative press. Private developers are a very fickle bunch; they don't like drama and they don't want to do business with someone they can't trust. And for that matter, neither do our county commissioners or state representatives. Private developers have already reacted; they've just found another project in another community, one who is embracing development with open arms and no drama.

Newport can't afford to be out of the "development game" for the next year or two while this unfortunate situation works itself out. I believe whether the mayor wins or loses his fight, Newport loses either way.

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