City Councilman Devon Minnema has formally requested his business-friendly reform proposals be placed on council agendas for discussion an action. The request was made in letter submitted to City Manager Jim Lindley on June 18.
Getting these proposals on a Council Agenda faces a hurdle. Under the Council procedures policy developed by City Attorney Doug White, while the City Manager and City Attorney may put items on the agenda, the elected city council members cannot – they must seek council approval to do so from the dais during a council meeting.
Minnema note comments by Dixon residents that the council “has not moved forward with anything new of general interest since the election.”
Minnema describes his proposals as suggestions made by constituents when he asked them “how to improve the economy in in our small town.”
He further asked Lindley to “ensure as many of these items be classified as actions items” on the agendas, so the council can make decisions or give staff direction.
Minnema listed seven subjects he wants considered:
Eliminating the Home Based Business Permits fee, in order to encourage creation of such small businesses. “Home-based businesses are the seedlings of businesses that will one day thrive and employ fellow Dixonites. Eliminating the Home Based Business Permit Fee will break down one of the barriers to entry that block minorities and young people from turning a concept into a business plan and eventually a serious enterprise.”
Lowering General Business Permit fees, “to encourage small businesses to operate in a way that can facilitate growth, and by extension, jobs and careers.”
Zoning Reform. “Dixon has over 30 different zoning designations each with its own rules and guidelines. This is stifling both commercial and residential innovation. By simplifying the zoning system to six or fewer designations, we can make sure that businesses can go where their customers’ want them instead of where the City’s bureaucrats will let them operate.”
Simplify and reduce Neighborhood Codes “These codes become a weapon that disagreeing neighbors can use against each other rather than working out their disagreements on a social level.”
Graffiti Enforcement Reform. “The current policy fines the victims of graffiti (aka property and business owners) if they cannot remove/cover up the situation in a short amount of time. These victims should not be held responsible for the actions of criminal miscreants.”
Simplifying Non-structural Improvement Permits. “Improvements that do not affect the structure of a building should not go through the City Engineering Department. These “Over-the-Counter” permits will speed up the remodeling process for property and homeowners and save the City valuable time and resources.”
Downtown Code Review (sign policy): “While the city has never officially voted to give the weight of law to the downtown code that was drafted by the DDBA, several busines
Devon Minnemas owners have been subjected to those rules with the weight of law behind those unapproved policies.”