Seven Douglas Residents Put Hat In Ring To Run For Three Open Council Seats In November
There are seven people—including two incumbents—that are throwing their hat into the ring for three Douglas City Council open seats in the November 3 General Election, it was announced at Monday’s meeting.
At that meeting, the council also discussed Douglas Urban Planning Consultant Lynee Well’s recommendation for an update and increase to the schedule of fees concerning planning and zoning, particularly those affecting builders and developers.
The city also is looking to add language to its ordinance pertaining to drainage issues on single-family homes so that developers clearly understand the standards and know how to go about properly grading a land relative to draining.
Both proposals are expected to go before council in the near future for final approval.
The incumbents running for a city council seat in November are:
* Douglas Mayor Pro Tem Martha Hoexter
* Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath
Douglas Council Member Gerald Schmidt will not be seeking re-election.
The candidate pool also includes:
* Former council member Lisa Greenwood, who did not seek re-election in the 2014 November Election.
* Kathryn Mooradian
* Jim Petzing
* John Kelly
* Jonathan Kinyon
Petzing, owner of Zing Eat Drink restaurant in Douglas and who also serves as president of the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association, has received wide-spread praise - and some criticism - from several area residents for his public stand on improving the City of Douglas, both commercially and aesthetically.
In his newspaper column that appears in The Local Observer, “Business First”, Petzing has challenged Douglas officials to take steps to stop the business flight that has left several empty store fronts along Center Street in the downtown area; improve the Blue Star Corridor to make it more attractive to visitors and and residents; and develop new and more sophisticated branding and marketing approaches to promote the city.
Petzing’s criticisms centered on the failure of some current Douglas officials to become more engaged in - and actively work towards - improving the city has garnered return verbal jabs by some elected and appointed leaders.
Petzing—Douglas Mayor Pro Tem Martha Hoexter asserted a few weeks back— said “Douglas City Hall looked unkempt, with no grass mowed and no flowers (along its facade).”
Hoexter responded, “I don’t know where that person (Petzing) has been been, certainly not looking at our city hall.”
Some colleagues agreed, adding that Petzing had unfairly argued that Douglas leaders were not interested in the growth of the city, commerce-wise.
“The message from Felicia (Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck/Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau) to be positive and upbeat—it hasn’t sinked in,” said Douglas City Council Member Harvath, also in reference to Petzing’s comments.
There also is some friction between some Douglas council members and candidate Kelly as well, as evidenced by an incident at Monday’s meeting which Kelly attended.
When Hoexter posed a question to Kelly relative to his candidacy during the council comment section of Monday’s agenda, Douglas Mayor Jim Wiley prevented Kelly from speaking saying it was not appropriate.
Kelly, speaking from his seat, was quick to counter, “I was responding to a question from the council. I don’t understand the sudden change. You went from having a laid back meeting, to going very formal.”
Kelly told The Local Observer he has been a resident of Douglas for 50 years.
The deadline for providing petitions to run for city council is now past.