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Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Saturday, April 28, 2018

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Development projects can positively impact the economy, clean up blighted areas, reduce vagrancy and crime, and prevent problems associated with urban sprawl.

If the city builds too many of them, over-development along the shoreline can have a negative impact on the economy. It’s about balance, and we now need to re-prioritize and slow down development on our shoreline.

Do you support more rapid development along Marquette, Michigan’s shoreline? Supporters say gentrification and…

Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Shoreline development ought to be judged on a case-by-case basis. At this time, until we can adequately grasp a reasonable outlook with which residents agree, I am in opposition to further residential development along the shoreline.

Do we want to maintain the pristine beauty, openness, and public accessibility of our shoreline similar to iconic cities, or do we want to please affluent developers and sell off shoreline property like Traverse City?

This is an important question residents and city planners now need to ask. I am a strong advocate for allowing voters to weigh in on these issues, and implore planners to listen. As the city inevitably grows, residents have a lot to say about what that should look like.

Considering the blight of some shore areas prior to new development, clean-up projects like Founders Landing can be positive. We must continually protect the city from problems associated with Urban Sprawl.

However, I am strongly opposed to rezoning projects that would leave height restrictions up to developers. The city should adhere-to and enforce height restrictions, especially near our shoreline.

In general, it is my position we need to slow down, and first concentrate on affordable housing and proven measures to reduce rising rental costs before considering any more condominiums. If we are to build more developments in the city, bids should only go to local contractors. We need to ensure the projects will be built by local union workers protected under Community Benefit Agreements.

The counter argument to this is there isnt enough labor to build the projects. This is incredibly telling about the pace of development in Marquette. Our community is not built to build at this rate.

Marquette needs balance. To do that, we now need a change in priorities. It’s time to question the pace of development on our shoreline. We have a lot of other housing problems in the city to address first; problems that will not be solved – and can be made worse – by gentrification and condominiums.

Supporters of further development say gentrification and responsible land usage helps the city tax-base, meets housing demands, and attracts investors.

Opponents say the buildings obstruct views, restrict citizen access of the waterfront, and contribute to unaffordable and rising rental rates in the city. There are a few exceptions of projects that will help boost our economy, clean up blighted areas, and reduce vagrancy and crime. In general, I oppose further condo-development along Lakeshore Blvd. at this time.

Founders Landing Before and After
Picnic Rocks Condos

Not everyone can own property. That’s an economic reality of 2018. Some projects cause property taxes to rise too rapidly, making ownership elsewhere in the city difficult.

There are positive attributes to development projects, but if we grow too rapidly and are not responsible, subsequent rental rates won’t reflect income or wages. Unless we are prepared to address those, owners elsewhere in the city pass rising costs to renters and decrease the livability of our city. We are witnessing that now.

Renters move away to more affordable, less appealing neighborhoods and Marquette becomes fancy but vacant, which isn’t great for our economy. It’s about balance. We are approaching a pendulum shift that needs to be controlled. Marquette needs to start an honest conversation about what we want our city to look like as it grows.

Several years ago, city commission voted to not allow owners in a nearby neighborhood be zoned for rentals. The most recent proposals are to build condominiums targeted to buyers in the $300K range. For Marquette, this is a replacement demographic catered exclusively to affluent owners. There are properties in the city developers can buy to let. Let’s sell, re-spark those, and invest in real low income housing before building more large condominiums.

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