Lincoln Policy Network hosts City Council Candidate Forum

04.20.15

On March 25th, Lincoln Policy Network hosted City Council candidates who took questions from LPN members. Six of the eight candidates were able to attend and discussed various aspects surrounding LPN’s first priority, neighborhood preservation. Below are some of the questions and responses.

How do we protect the quality of life in the high rental areas with some rental properties not being well maintained?
  • Jon Camp – New rules on Problem Resolution Team will help.
  • Mitch Payne – Property needs to be taken out of the flood plain.  Flood insurance is very expensive.
  • Patte Newman – We need a multi-effort: the age of the building, landlord licensing, and code enforcement that is date driven need to be coordinated.
  • Carl Eskridge – We need to ensure that we are addressing the worst of the housing stock.
  • Meg Mikolajczyk – Protect services that contribute to quality of life, such as trails, parks, libraries.
  • Jane Raybould – Most landlords are good, we need to work with landlords and increase their awareness.
Name your favorite TIF project.
  • Mitch P. – Clinton neighborhood with the sidewalk and curb improvements and everything done on N. 27th St.
  • Meg M. – Blight should be better defined, skeptical of using TIF on the edges of town.  Likes TIF projects in the core neighborhoods.
  • Jon C. – TIF is not used for residential.  Haymarket and 27th Street corridow are favorites.
  • Patte N. – Havelock and University Place where TIF was used to jump start other investments–police sub-station, facade work, pocket park.
  • Carl E. – On North 27th Street TIF helped to stabilize the community. West O is working on that now. 11th Street is a fun place to go, seems safer, nicer after improvements on streetscape.  TIF isn’t the only way
  • Jane R. – Havelock now has a nice streetscape as well as South 17th Street.
What incentives can we create to keep small local businesses open (noting the closing of several local grocery and hardware stores)?
  • Jane R – The profit margin for grocery and hardware stores is very small.  The best incentive is to support local businesses. Impact fees could be waved for certain types of businesses to encourage development.
  • Meg M. – We need to deal with food deserts like the one created by the Leighton Hy-Vee closing.
  • Mitch P. – We have to strengthen the local market place.
  • Jon C. – A 5 year option is legal and good business sense.
How do we rehab older buildings to preserve neighborhoods and affordable housing? (Codes for new construction doesn’t always work well for 100+ yr. old housing.)
  • Patte N. – There should be exceptions to codes in developing older properties.
  • Jon C. – We need a dialogue about this.
  • Jane R. – Are there acceptable alternatives to some requirements in order to preserve housing stock?
  • Mitch P. – Best to utilize low-income housing programs and fight for money to enhance programs.
  • Carl E. – We need more flexibility in codes- an example is the fraternity house on South 17th that may be torn down to provide more parking (required).

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