The Rapidian

Commissioners discuss water protections, housing inspections

The January 10 City Commission meeting covered topics such as water protections, police salaries, and staffing for the new housing inspection policies.
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City Commission Meetings

Meetings are held twice a month and evening sessions are always open to the public. Schedule for 2012 is available here

/Nancy Finney

The first Grand Rapids city commission meeting of the new year was held on Tuesday January 10th. Approximately twenty citizens were in attendance for the evening session (Every commission meeting has time for public comment during the evening portion at 7 p.m.), and a few of them voiced their appreciation, concern and thoughts about the topics on the agenda.

The first ordinance to pass Tuesday evening was replacement of the “Wetland, Streams and Water Bodies Requirements” section of the city code. Second Ward Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss explained, “water is such an important issue and this ordinance provides balance between development and protection.” Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly explained that government is in a time of change but we must not forget, “We can’t evaluate water quality without government.” The West Michigan Environmental Action Council supported the proposal and voiced their approval during the open comment period but also mentioned the 25 foot setback is a minimum requirement and could be stronger.

The second ordinance passed Tuesday evening amended zoning laws for the redevelopment of Knapp’s Corner and East Beltline. Dave Shaffer and Walt Gutowski, both First Ward commissioners, shared their appreciation for the developer that intends to transform this property.

The third ordinance the Commission passed put into effect the rezoning of Eastern Avenue SE to allow expansion of a convenience store.

The fourth ordinance passed established salary ranges for the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The fifth and final ordinance discussed Tuesday evening was to amend the proposed budget and remove a recently passed housing inspection ordinance that would add eight inspectors to the city budget. This topic created a lengthy discussion among the commissioners. Many commissioners explained that the “clock is ticking” for the city budget. Third Ward Commissioner James White stated that housing quality in the city of Grand Rapids is crucial to its success. He compared the restaurant industry to housing problems, explaining that if many restaurants had food poisoning, people never go out to eat. White continued, “The wheels of government grind slowly but indeed we must grind.” The new inspectors and addition to the budget will move forward as planned. Second Ward and Third Ward commissioners (Kelly and Bliss; White and Lumpkins, respectively) voted to including hiring the staff added into the city budget; First Ward commissioners Shaffer and Gutowski voted to remove this policy from the city budget.

City Commission meetings are located on the 9th floor of City Hall (300 Monroe Avenue NW) and are open to the public.

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with the 5th proposal. I dont disagree with the sentiments, but the action plan is naive and misinformed.