Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 109
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for October 18, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

I wonder what else the City of Warrensburg can do to make it difficult for downtown businesses. In the past few years, they’ve tried to give tax money to a new commercial development north of US-50, they’ve given room tax money to the Chamber of Commerce (which refuses to promote non-member downtown taxpaying businesses), they’ve given the Trails Library a hard time on the land for a new facility, they’ve regulated signs, and they continue to have aggressive parking enforcement. I’ve got it! The Planning & Zoning Commission can require downtown businesses to get a permit to place a bench in front of their establishments.

Really. They’ve actually proposed this. There’s no satisfaction in just telling businesses they have to leave a certain amount of sidewalk clear. No, they want to require a permit issued by a public official. We know what generally happens in such cases; rather than go through more governmental hassle, the businesses just do away with the benches and other amenities that might make downtown more attractive.

I look forward to seeing more such efforts to frustrate downtown businesses. Perhaps potted plant permits? How about potted patron permits for West Pine Street establishments? Maybe even bring back the parking meters? One thing I’m sure we won’t see is permits to place painted plywood mules around town.

If they’re really concerned about downtown safety, why run people off in baby steps; go whole hog and ban people from downtown entirely. More shopping centers can always be built – outside the city limits where there’s no zoning to stop merchants from putting out as many benches as they wish.

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