This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Sumner’s plan to carve a major development – Orton Junction – out of adjacent agricultural land has been a moving target for months. Its supporters kept on refining it, and its preservationists kept on opposing it.
Last week, after the crucial intervention of the Cascade Land Conservancy, Orton Junction finally became a clear win for rural protection.
At first glance, that seems impossible. Despite the tinkering, Sumner will still be swallowing 182 acres of protected rural countryside – including 125 acres of prime farmland – on the city’s southern border.
Any paving-over of topsoil harks back to the bad old days when the Pierce County Council was the girl who couldn’t say no. Developers who came along whistling tunes about jobs, money and affordable housing could pretty much have their way with the countryside.
Orton Junction’s opponents have feared that the project would set a precedent for renewed rural depredation. But what it’s evolved into is a precedent for protection.
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