Chamber Q & A

Chamber Q&A

1: What do you see as the biggest challenge currently facing our community? What specific actions would you take or what policies would you put in place to address that challenge?

Infrastructure – Growth in city infrastructure has exceeded our ability to pay for it. We are nearing the size of Minneapolis with less that 1/3 of the population. This is resulting in upward pressures in funding, largely hitting small businesses. We now see an unfunded liability of $1.4 billion and growing. Without action this will inhibit the ability fund all other services including public safety, parks, and the library.

Solutions:
1. Adequately fund a planning department that can meet city needs.
2. Eliminate subsidies for unsustainable developments.
3. Refuse public infrastructure that lacks sufficient tax base to maintain it.
4. Aggressively implement a new comprehensive plan, built on smart growth principles.
5. Replace existing land use and zoning requirements with form-based codes such as the proposed DMC guidelines.
6. Focus growth on transit connected corridors and nodes.

2. What do you see as the most important part of your role of being a member of the City Council?

I believe the role of community leadership is to prioritize and place the needs of the community before the intentions of special interests.

3. If there is one objective you could reach over the next four years what would it be?

I would like to see continued advancement of the Uptown / St. Marys Place / Cascade Lake area region.

4: Since transportation generally shapes development for a community should we be putting more emphasis on long­term transportation planning? If so, how would you do this?

In the last 5 years we have seen increasing focus on the importance of investments in transportation. In recent months we have initiated significant investment in the design and development of key pieces of transportation infrastructure. Ultimately these planning activities need to be brought to completion and then implemented.

A quality public transportation system can absorb much of the needs of the public, employers, schools, commuters, visitors, and those unable to drive. All this can be done with less expense and far less congestion if we rely on smart growth principles.

5: What actions would you take to fix the disconnect between the advisory groups, like Planning and Zoning, CUDE, neighborhood associations, etc and the builders, City Staff and the City Council? Would a full time, management level, Development Coordinator help this process? If so, how?

Fully fund and staff the planning department, update zoning & plans, make all forms and communications electronic. The development coordinator is an expensive work around to addressing existing problems in planning.

6: What are your thoughts on the topic of Inclusionary Zoning? How do you see this new zoning helping or hurting future development in our community?

Inclusionary zoning if a vital component to an overall housing plan that serves the needs of our entire workforce. Extensive peer reviewed research shows that when done correctly it will add affordable housing to communities while having a negligible effect on prices. I stand with “In the City for Good” in advancing inclusionary zoning. We have already seen this work in principle twice with the Park at Kutzky and the Buckeye projects.

7. What, specifically, can the City Council do to meet the goal of increasing public transit ridership and reducing the number of single passenger vehicles coming into downtown?

Stop subsidizing roads, parking, and automobile only development. Make biking and walking easier and safer. Expand transit hours and reach new neighborhoods with the density & mix of uses needed to make transit viable.

8: DMC is focused on the five Downtown Districts, what is your vision for the community as a whole and how does that tie into what is going on with DMC? How would you utilize the new DMC Design Guidelines?

Smart growth is needed in our region. We need new neighborhoods that are transit oriented are more easily connected to our DMC districts. These neighborhood options have been around for decades but are still not available in Rochester. These neighborhoods can help to house growing senior, immigrant, and millennial populations. Because they are far more resource efficient they create opportunities for more affordable housing.

9: What is your vision for the future? What is your big picture look? Specifically in the areas of transportation, transit, and development growth.

Rochester must achieve smart growth with an eye towards serving those who toil but fail to benefit from their efforts. Development patterns need to reflect new preferences and financial realities. Infrastructure should not be built or accepted into the city unless it can be shown to be fiscally, environmentally, and socially sustainable. Development must safely and efficiently connect people to employment and other places via transit and non-motorized means. Gaps in our system based on geography, obstacles, or time must be eliminated. The culture of Rochester must evolve from a system that serves to benefit those who are best connected and instead reward those who work hard and innovate with the best ideas. Our community must become more welcoming and attractive to our future workforce to end decades of negative domestic net migration. Shortcomings in basic services such as world-class affordable broadband can not continue to be ignored.

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