During the 2020 election cycle, then-candidate Richard Blonna pledged to listen to all opinions of the community and to work to find solutions to problems seen as impeding the progress of the island. Since he was elected to City Council, Blonna has been holding small meetings among constituents to listen to their concerns.
One particular area of focus for Blonna lies within the business community, and he sees an opportunity for the city to move forward to address a number of issues.
In a white paper he prepared for City Council, he pointed out the need to be more forward thinking. He equated the problem dealing with parking with the mistake of not considering alternative modes of traversing the island. As such, he preferred the issue be a part of the city’s review of its Comprehensive Plan.
In his report to council, he questioned the continued use of old assumptions, while challenging his contemporaries on the dais to think beyond decades-old assumptions such as parking matrixes which, due to changes in our transportation alternatives, may change how we view the challenges we face in the next two decades.
Transportation was only one of the items he thought worthy of a closer review and, as such, he suggested creation of a Business Ad Hoc Development and Redevelopment Committee. The group would be charged with helping to find solutions to these and many other problems associated with transportation and the challenges being faced by the business community.
Supporting his desire to see this committee formed were two of the community’s business leaders. Erik Condee of Condee Cooling and Electric, and Daniel High, General Manager of Rose Marco River Marina, spoke in favor of the development of such a review committee.
“I was encouraged to hear that someone on council was interested in the health of our business community,” said High. “Looking at what is working and what is not is vitally important to us as business people.”
Erik Condee also threw his support behind the concept. “A few years ago, as we started to look at the Land Development Code, we found a number of things that needed review. I believe these were referred to as the ‘glitch list.’ Now’s the time to address these things as we move along in this review of the Comprehensive Plan. There are some issues, and we are in need of addressing them,” said Condee. He would go on to say that we might be smart to look at incentivizing work on some of the aging properties.
Council was willing to move the issue forward, but the skepticism was best voiced by Councilor Brechnitz when he said, “The devil is in the details.” Council will await a more detailed report by Councilor Blonna.