TOO OFTEN, TAXPAYERS PAY FOR THE PROFIT AND GROWTH OF BIG DEVELOPERS.
Too often, citizens are then told there isn't enough money to adequately enforce our code, maintain our infrastructure or redevelop our older neighborhoods.
Developers are driven to maximize profit and growth for their companies by pursuing the highest and best use for the land they own. Their pursuit of profit and growth through highest and best use, often means the developer asks the city for tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, or large variances to our zoning. That's their job. We can't stop them from asking.
But we need to stop saying "yes" to everything they want. City Hall MUST INSIST the interests of the community be an equally balanced part of the developer formula. The City Commission needs to be clear that this balance is non-negotiable.
The final result of the developed project is not enough when the developers want concessions from the pockets of our citizens. We cannot continue to give away taxpayer dollars and entitlements without asking for something in return. For example, we could ask for contributions to local non-profits to develop workforce housing, donations to the First Step Shelter, internship programs to keep our graduates in the community, an enforceable commitment to a certain wage level, or development of beachfront parking.
Each development situation will be different but the Commission must be clear, we will only welcome developers who are willing to be good corporate citizens of our community.