by Matt Herman, Council Member, City of Casa Grande
There are many misconceptions about the city government’s role in local development. The city is here to help and encourage responsible development, while making sure all local rules, regulations and laws are followed.
We don’t pick winners and losers, but we do make sure that businesses and residential developments are zoned correctly, or located in the proper place; built to code, or built safely and following all local laws. And we are a free market economy, so just because there are too many of one type of business does not mean we wouldn’t allow another one to be built.
The city should be as reasonable and as helpful as possible. We want to encourage responsible development. When an issue comes up, we should always work to find solutions.
A few years ago, a code change came up that would require fire sprinklers in residential structures over 5,000 square feet. This was tough, because we want to make sure fire codes are followed and homes are safe, but we must also be cognizant of financial realities and private property rights. I thought it was unreasonable to include garages and patios in that size calculation. So, we changed the proposed ordinance to work with the parties involved.
And the same is true with businesses. When a local business had a question about impact fees while improving an existing structure, we all worked together to make sure the fees did not cost more than the actual improvement. I did not think it was reasonable to make a tax-generating business pay impact fees for enclosing a shade structure that had previously been enclosed and was being used for the same purpose. I believe that we should always sit down and work on solutions when questions or issues arise.