Saying that the time has come to act, 2nd District City Council candidate Karen Goldner today called for the City and County’s land use management departments to be combined:
"It is no secret that local businesses get frustrated with our land use and zoning functions," said Goldner. "Slow progress has been made, but we can wait no longer for further improvements. We need a dramatic change. We need to say to entrepreneurs that Fort Wayne and Allen County want their investment. We need to say that our community means business."
Goldner called for the combined City-County staff to continue to report to the Mayor of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Commissioners. "This is not uni-gov, but it will provide everyone who wants to invest anywhere in our community with a consistent set of principles and procedures that implement what was outlined in the recently adopted Plan-It Allen comprehensive plan. Plan-It Allen is a good start but we cannot afford to wait years for more progress to occur," said Goldner.
"Fort Wayne has lagged behind the nation in wages since the early 1980’s," she said. "Some of this is due to global or national circumstances beyond our control. But that is no excuse to ignore the fact that we have a land use management and zoning system that is confusing, discouraging, and too often viewed as arbitrary. A large part of these problems come from having two separate systems. We operate in a highly competitive world. Whether the business is new to Fort Wayne or one that is home grown, when we put up bureaucratic impediments to growth, we encourage that business to go elsewhere and to take its jobs, too. That must stop."
While calling for an immediate merger of the departments, Goldner also stated that the City and County should move toward further consolidation of their land use regulatory activities by creating a single Area Plan Commission. In the meantime, the separate City and County Plan Commissions would remain. "We cannot wait," said Goldner. "Government is getting in the way of business, and when that happens our city loses. Merging staffs is just common sense, and I am committed to get it done."