I am glad for the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s commitment to oversight of public affairs, and welcome the Journal’s comments on the Grand Rapid City Commission’s decisions. I was, however, disappointed by the Journal’s decision in its April 20 editorial to treat the commission as an undifferentiated body. As a result, your criticisms hit too large a target.
Your central point was that the Grand Rapids City Commission should do its best to develop policies regarding development and apply them consistently. This is exactly the position that I have advocated from the outset in discussion of the Imperial Metals site development, and why I advocated consistently that the city’s land purchase in that development be keyed to the value established by a current appraisal. Appraisals may not be perfect, but they are the tool we have to establish a fair price. I agree that lack of clear policies, or inconsistent application of policies, risk a chilling effect on private investment in the city. Our role in development projects such as the Imperial Metals project, or any other, is to facilitate the kinds of growth that help the city as a whole, and unpredictability and inconsistency in the process are always to be avoided.
Second Ward City Commissioner