According to the latest issue of the City’s mailing, “The Bridge,” we all need to be educated on the rules, laws and ordinances that come into play when developing a piece of property. We are told that no matter what type of development, the City is bound by these laws, codes, policies, and rules to ensure safety as well as equal opportunity and treatment for all parties.
What we have learned in just a few months is that the Elk Street affordable housing project is not consistent with the City’s comprehensive plan, includes questionable fire suppression and lacks recommendations of the Americans with Disability Act.
We were informed that many local cities are trying to attract some of the same development and that is where incentives may be offered on certain projects. The use of these tools can be broad and if used and managed correctly, they can have a positive impact on generating additional tax revenue for the City. Many of these financial tools are very complex in nature and they can be hard to understand. So, we are encouraged to ask questions and become educated. We expect and demand nothing less from our elected officials.
We have learned that the same local cities are bound by the exact boundaries and restrictions as our Belle Plaine elected officials. However, they don’t seem to make knee jerk excuses and responses to questions and concerns from residents. They don’t appear to be bullied by developers or intimidated by the Metropolitan Council. They make reasonable, sound, common sense decisions that satisfy and confirm why they were elected to serve and represent all the people of their city.
What Belle Plaine might lack in business and industry, we do have in friendly, safe and secure neighborhoods. Why would we risk that for high-density, low cost housing in a questionable location that may not be the quick fix answer for our community?
Preservation of neighborhoods such as ours is critical to continuing the pride of our city that provides safe streets and friendly faces. As we continue to have this “thinking outside the box” development, we might have to remember the qualities and great way of life that we all did enjoy in what was our “favorite hometown!”
Let us all watch the issue on Elk Street very closely and see if common sense within the rules, laws and ordinances in development addresses the expectations and needs of our Belle Plaine citizens. Even the Metropolitan Council should be satisfied with that outcome.
Doug & Pandy Anderson
Forest & Illene Maxwell
Brendan & Nancy Weldon
Wally & Pat Krant
Ron & Lynn McConnell
John & Kathy Esgar
Al & Kathy Hennen
Manley & Bev Stier
Jim & Kathy Lange
Ken & Barb Retzer
Mike & Deb Shaughnessy
Dave & Phoebe Einertson