Eye To Change City Planning Commission’s Focus Is Overdue

We couldn’t agree more with an attempt by Mike Laurin to streamline site plan approvals and change the city Planning Commission’s overall focus.

Laurin has been on the Planning Commission for a few years, but took over as the commission’s chairman this year. During the commission’s most recent meeting, Laurin outlined his thoughts to have many of the questions about site plans resolved before the projects appear before Planning Commission members in an attempt to have applicants appear before the commission less often before a project is approved and help move projects along faster.

That’s a good step. Planning Commission members often ask good and important questions, but it puts applicants on the spot when they don’t have the information they need to address questions. Many of the commissioners’ questions can be answered before a meeting where a project is scheduled to be approved – something Laurin realized.

But even more important is what Laurin wants to do with the Planning Commission’s time if it isn’t spending so much of it on site plan approvals – and that is actually planning. We’ve advocated for the city Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission to make a return to the city after falling dormant in recent years. But one reason the Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission was necessary in the past was that there was a void to be filled when it came to strategically trying to deal with issues in the city that didn’t necessarily fall under the purview of the City Council.

“”Going forward I would really like to be more proactive with the Planning Commission,” Laurin said during the most recent commission meeting. “I would like to push a little bit more to see if we can think outside the box on what we’re missing, what we can do to add to neighborhood revitalization, to add stability, to add more business. Anything that we can think of.”

Laurin is right on both fronts. Now comes the hard part – making his vision for the Planning Commission a reality


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today