"Plans are nothing; planning is everything"
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States
When representatives of any business enterprise approach a municipality in pursuit of land or vacant building availability, they are met by community development staff that facilitates and directs them to brokers and sites to accommodate their request.
Likewise, anytime a business requests to locate in a city, it views the municipality's proactive planning in its search of an appropriate location for its needs. This is done by means of a master plan (which is required by state law and is used in considering the future of a growing community).
City government must contemplate direction for years ahead on issues that will have a profound effect on the quality of life enjoyed in their neighborhoods. They would find themselves remiss to deny any business application solely on the thinking of what I call the "Big Box" thought, which is that other businesses would fold because of their presence, or that there already is similar commerce within the community. There is also the Financial Institution scenario - the payment of taxes by a nonprofit in contrast to a for-profit business. Free enterprise should dictate the course of our market system, not "Big Brother."
Once a suitable site is found and secured, a process of step-by-step detailed procedures begins and eventually ends in the hands of the city council. During the progression of the business venture application, recommendations are given by city staff and the planning commission, and then refined into a submitted proposal. When it hits that point, the city council should ultimately work to keep the emotion away as it assesses the proposal as a land use issue and nothing more, before coming to a majority decision.
With guaranteed rights that a republic provides, a landowner wanting to develop his property with the intent to conduct business cannot be rebuffed in doing so. There are some restrictions that can be placed on the building of the enterprise, but legally, by not respecting those rights, cities invite litigation that they would lose.
The short side of today's column is that a city council is not almighty and is limited to how it assesses any proposal before concluding with a deciding vote. It is important to remember that although these elected officials are restricted in what can be legally done, they must be a team of dedicated public servants, committed to seeing that the citizens they represent are given the quality of life they deserve.
Steve Curtis has worked as a business consultant and communication specialist. He is currently mayor of Layton. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.