Sometimes inaction is the best action. Policymakers can be so eager to prove they're showing leadership that they're inclined to take any action even if it's not well thought out.
The Brainerd City Council's current quandary regarding a rezoning request from rural residential to general business by a Wise Road property owner is a case in point.
Differing visions for the future of the recently annexed Wise Road-Beaver Dam Road area have surfaced. The 1,000 acres are certain to be an area of growth for Brainerd, even if it's not yet been decided what form that growth will take.
The most sensible proposal that came up at Monday's Brainerd City Council meeting was the recommendation made by the Personnel and Finance Committee. The panel suggested putting the rezoning request on hold for 60 days while the city planner/economic developer could put together a comprehensive plan for the area.
Piecemeal zoning or rezoning can come back to haunt a municipality. Council members should take a look at the big picture before they consider one person's rezoning request for this vital area.
Certainly, a delay will pose some inconvenience for the party requesting the rezoning, but council members have an obligation to map out some sort of strategy now before development begins in earnest in the area.
More public affairs information
is always better than less
The other night while surfing through television channels we happened upon the televised Brainerd City Council meetings.
While the deliberations of our council are never going to replace "Friends" as "must-see TV," the broadcast was pretty impressive in some respects. The picture was clear. Different camera angles were shown. Interested citizens could see their elected representatives and city staff in action, dealing with city problems. What a great deal for Brainerd citizens who wanted to keep tabs on city government but couldn't make it to the meetings.
The experience made us wish that other governmental units such as the Crow Wing County Board and the Brainerd School District could find a way to televise their proceedings. Those units of government would find that the combination of broadcast and newspaper coverage of their meetings would result in a better informed constituency and probably result in fewer late-night phone calls to the council members from citizens who misunderstood some aspect of city government.
When it comes to government more information is always better than less. The citizens can sift through what they want and charges of elected officials hiding the truth will probably be fewer.
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