Candidate Statements

This is What We Stand For: Bringing New Ideas to Make Downtown Summit Thrive

d59a1f737ed65a9b7fa8_c858f8c97216643e7d35_166828760c10353810aa_068e8e620e9de503e824_IMG_8309.jpg
Matt Gould, Beth Little, and Marjorie Fox.
d59a1f737ed65a9b7fa8_c858f8c97216643e7d35_166828760c10353810aa_068e8e620e9de503e824_IMG_8309.jpg

Downtowns and malls throughout the nation are struggling with how to address online retail. We all shop online and that trend is only going to increase. But a vibrant downtown is not only vital for landlords and their business tenants -- it is important for every residential property owner in our community. The greater the share of the city budget that is covered by commercial taxes, the lower the share that must be covered by residential taxes. Moreover, a walkable and historic downtown is attractive to homebuyers and works to shore up property values.

Summit has a great downtown. But there is room for improvement. We are concerned that there are many vacant storefronts, and we have an overabundance of certain kinds of businesses.  The time is now to be proactive, rather than reactive. Here are some ideas for meeting this challenge head-on.

*Create an Economic Development Committee on Common Council. The Economic Development committee will allow Council members to work with City staff to identify policies that will create a business friendly climate in Summit. Right now, issues that affect our downtown are addressed by several Council committees. Many issues are not addressed at all because they do not fall within the purview of any Council committee. Consolidating this function within one committee will ensure that Council focuses on ways to improve our downtown and our neighborhood businesses.

Sign Up for E-News

*Look at tax incentives that allow commercial property owners to benefit from filled storefronts. Currently, property owners can seek tax abatements for unleased spaces. These incentives should not allow property owners to benefit from tax abatements while stores remain vacant for months on end.  Many commercial properties in the downtown are owned by family trusts. These trusts use the losses on vacant properties to offset gains on other properties in an overall real estate portfolio. We will evaluate these policies and look for ways to ensure that our tax policies encourage commercial landowners to fill vacancies expeditiously.

*Create a business concierge to identify new businesses and help them get started in Summit. This has been a successful strategy in other communities, including Chestnut Hill in Pennsylvania. The concierge would work with Summit Downtown, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce, commercial brokers, and retail representatives to identify new businesses and to ensure that Summit has a mix of commercial establishments. The concierge would also guide new businesses through the permitting process here in Summit, working closely with the City’s Code Administration office.  

*Streamline the permitting process for new businesses. There are several things that can be done to make the permitting process go more quickly, while ensuring compliance with codes.  First, certain categories of business permits could be granted on an expedited basis. Second, while Council has already approved putting the permitting process online, we want this implemented as soon as possible, and after implementation, we should re-evaluate, on a quarterly basis, how well the system is working, and make necessary improvements.

*Encourage residential use of upper floors of downtown buildings. Mixed-use buildings allow for residents to live in the downtown and use the first-floor commercial establishments more frequently. Buildings that allow only for office use create at least two problems.  First, a parking crunch is created if all the employees come to work during the daytime and leave at night. Second, when employees leave at night, the downtown becomes quiet and thus, less inviting for others. We have all been to communities that essentially shut down after 5 p.m., and that is not the type of town we want to be. While we do not aspire to be a bustling metropolis, we do want a thriving place to go to in the evening.

*Utilize public spaces in the downtown for cultural events. Lyric Park and the Promenade Park are ideal locations for live musicians and entertainers in the evenings and on weekends.

*Consider changes in the Development Regulations Ordinance (DRO) to allow for entertainment uses in the downtown. One thing that online retail cannot replace is a communal entertainment experience. With the departure of our movie theater, our community lost a business that attracted residents of all ages to our downtown. We need to set policies that will attract businesses that provide entertainment options to Summit. Currently, our first-floor regulations restrict certain types of businesses, such as arcades, escape rooms, or cooking studios. We should look into changing those regulations in ways that will enhance our downtown while preserving the character of our community.

By being proactive, we can move Summit forward.  

Beth Little (At-Large), Matt Gould (Ward 1), and Marjorie Fox (Ward 2) are Democratic candidates for Summit Common Council.

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7be61d8c0218a63463d0_4f185ba72d5296e67c72_adobestock_74413077_mother_goose

Tue, May 22, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Ages 6 mo.-2 yrs.: Mother Goose Mornings

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_c59277305d03a4dae3a5_4164c2471f3c198c0cc5_storytime_0317

Tue, May 22, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Mother Goose Mornings

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_6c3705f0d83fcd78b74f_2ab30b66626ffd382f18_adobestock_50725543_child_reading

Wed, May 23, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Ages 1 yr.-K: Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Education

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Four Colleges, Four Days Equals One True College Experience

May 21, 2018

Calling all College-Bound High Schoolers! 

Let's go on a college tour or two or four! Through the Summit Area YMCA, we made it easy for you... with a pre-planned fun-filled trip visiting four amazing colleges in the Southeast! including University of Richmond, Spelman/Morehouse, Morris Brown College, and Clark Atlanta University. 

Join other ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Weighs In on Big Box Stocks

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live at the NYSE discussing stocks of big box retailers:

ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

 

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Managing the Ups and Downs of First-Time Homebuying

They accepted our offer, now what?

At times both equally exhilarating and terrifying, the purchase of a home can be a total roller coaster ride -- especially when it is your first time going through the process. Between suddenly being expected to understand the intricacies of contracts and the inner workings of a home, you are also expected to start writing checks for amounts you may ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...