Unhappy with use of growth numbers


The Cascadia Weekly for Dec. 18 has an interesting take on future population growth in its Gristle column. The planning commission must deal with this issue in 2014. Consider the following two sentences.

"Ferndale, in particular, was much humbled in modest forecasts, compared to earlier projections and updates. Part is related to the loss of potential commercial real estate at Slater Road, as Lummi Nation moves to turn fee land at this crucial interchange into nontaxable trust land."

For a little backstory on what I believe are Ferndales errors, consider why Ferndale used a higher population growth forecast than reasonable. In 2009, when the new police station was under discussion, there was citizen resistance. The mayor and the city administrator repeatedly used a growth forecast of 33,000 in 2030 to justify a police station of 18,000 square feet and accommodating 50 officers. However, this figure was premised on the urban growth boundary, not the city limits of Ferndale. By these numbers, Ferndale should already be at 15,000 population (a rise of 4,000 in 4 years) rather than the current population of 12,000. There was no real rationale for what I believe to be this misuse of statistics and the law enforcement agency for these areas is the Sheriff's Department, not the Ferndale Police Department. This was stinky cheese all right!

Of course, now these numbers have come back to haunt Ferndale.

Walter Haugen


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