Our View: Enter and exit
A development that could have produced new businesses and tax revenue to the city of Craig, as well as fill a now barren lot, has been relocated outside city limits, actions that add fuel to the debate regarding the city’s planning and zoning regulations.
Lop Behrman, a local residential and commercial developer, intended to rebuild the Country Mall, which was destroyed by arson in November 2007, at its Craig site.
However, Behrman took issue with the city’s planning and zoning department about various requirements that he said escalated costs and decided to move his development into Moffat County’s jurisdiction where standards aren’t as strict.
This loss shouldn’t be interpreted as the city’s fault.
It should be viewed as an opportunity to revisit planning and zoning standards in place and to review whether they are too costly or restrictive for development the city desperately needs, the Editorial Board believes.
Based on Behrman’s move, as well as comments from other developers reluctant to speak publicly about the regulations, it only makes sense for city officials to discuss them again.
City officials are correct when they say some wonderful buildings have been built under the umbrella of the new codes. It’s also true that baseline standards prevent our city from becoming home to cheap, ugly, substandard buildings.
The Editorial Board recognizes as much.
But it’s also safe to say that Behrman isn’t the only developer in town who has had problems with the codes.
And if there are indeed more, something needs to be done to smooth out potential problems before development in Craig becomes as stagnant as the Country Mall site.
Surely a happy medium can be found.
The Editorial Board believes an open conversation about the current regulations and how they could be improved would bring more people to the table.
People like developers who have ongoing projects and are hesitant to speak about the codes because they’re worried how that criticism could affect their development.
At the end of the day, the Editorial Board believes it’s easier to have a conversation about the codes, or a series of them, than watch another development – and the benefits it brings – head outside city limits.
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