** Another question from a reader, David Crank. “How do you reconcile personal property rights against the many diverse opinions from the public about land use, development, restricts, etc.? He went on to amplify the question: I read many comments about how commercial property landowners should not be allowed to develop their land because Wake Forest is already too crowded, etc.
“I have also talked to small business owners that think Wake Forest makes it way too difficult to build a commercial building or start a franchise within town limits.”
You might answer the following questions along with the comments posed by the reader.
** How would you balance the right of a property owner or buyer to use their land to make money with safeguards set by state law and local ordinances and the problems of providing infrastructure and services: roads, schools, police, fire protection, parks, and greenways? Most major roads are state-owned and the Wake County Public School System decides where to build schools and the attendance area for each school. Neither the state nor the public school system asks for input from local municipalities.
** Currently on average 63 people move into Wake County each day and 5.5 of those move into Wake Forest (including births). These people need homes and want to live in a town where there are small-town values. Does this statistic enter into your thinking about the town’s growth?
** What considerations would you take into account when considering a new apartment project or a new subdivision? What weight would you give to the planning department’s recommendation? To the possible protests by neighbors or those using the streets?
David, thank you for your question. I do not agree that commercial property landowners should not be able to develop their property the way they would like as long as they are building for how the area is zoned. I started a small business and the community was incredibly supportive. So, I understand the feelings that some business owners may have.
Wake Forest needs more jobs and specifically small business jobs. We currently have about 1,200 businesses for 45,000+ people. Our average commute time, according to our 2017 census update, was over 30 minutes. That means that most of us are commuting outside the city for work. This is why I want to start a small business incubator. Essentially, the city would provide work space to approved applicants that has basic amenities such as a desk, internet, etc. We can then team up with a program such as SCORE offered through the SBA. This would provide C-level executive guidance at no cost. We would also hold asset fairs where we host the for-profit and non-profit industry professionals together to try and make local connections.
Some of the factors I will consider as part of my smart growth strategy include but are not limited to how will a project impact our school population and how will it change our traffic. The planning department recommendation will not weigh heavily on my decision as we can see how some of their recommendations has caused such a backlash in the community. I am running because I want to be the voice of the people. So, if they are unhappy then I want to do what I can to make them happy. Right now our town is still small enough that we can change our course without too much damage. We cannot stop growth, as that could lead to us getting sued, but, we can spread it around to areas of town that have the infrastructure to handle it and would benefit from the growth.