We talked in Part 1 of “Responsible Village Government” that good leadership of the Village results from making decisions based on the needs of the residents first, and outside entities such as developers and businesses second. Now we’ll show examples of how that approach has benefitted the Village in the past. We’ll also contrast that with how the new regime might approach it in the future.
In the early-to-mid 1980s, the Village Government negotiated the annexation of the White Oak Lake subdivision and the Germantown Crossing shopping center with developer Mike White. Mike was a very tough negotiator, but the Village was equally tough in defending the residents’ needs. Many details were worked out that eventually led to a successful annexation. This development occurred at the end of the 1980 recession. A newspaper described Germantown Hills as the only tri-county area with significant development underway.
A new sign ordinance was passed in 1990 that incorporated a modern approach that was being adopted by many progressive cities throughout the country. It created more uniformity of sign size, and reduced sign clutter and overall height. This prevented the “forest of signs” look that causes blight in some municipalities. A benefit to the businesses was that they would no longer have to compete with each other on sign size to insure that theirs could be seen.
Some say that developers and businesses should be able to do whatever they want. While discussing a proposal for a 60 foot-high yellow illuminated gas station sign in the middle of the Village, our new Mayor said, “I don’t know of any reason we shouldn’t do anything to help a business make money.” That attitude is what destroys property values when one doesn’t consider the needs of the residents first.
In the next article, we will talk about how a proposed development south of Coventry Farms subdivision shaped the future of the Village because the Board members listened to its residents.
Mike Gaetz Terry Quinn