My Turn: Sometimes going slow is good for government

There is not always a reason to rush

A few weeks ago, the Page City Council had a long, raucous meeting where ultimately little was decided.
For government in general that seems to be the norm, and it’s likely the way it should be. When a government entity runs into fierce opposition, taking a step back and gathering more information is a good way to do business. Rarely is there a need to rush to a decision that will have impacts for years to come.
Last week I wrote about the proposed lighting ordinance that was postponed until a public hearing can be heard at the end of this month. After gathering more input from Page residents, the council will then move ahead with making its decision on the ordinance. Possibly. If the concerns that are raised get the attention of enough council members, a final decision could be delayed even further.
Two other issues were brought in front of the council that also led to a lot of discussion. The first has been written about in the paper before, a proposal by a developer to purchase 860 acres of prime real estate from the city with the goal of developing housing, shopping centers, restaurants and even more.
The biggest concern from the public seemed to be there wasn’t a whole lot of information available about the company. And to me that seems fair.
There is no doubt the land in question, along Highway 89 from Walmart to Horseshoe Bend, is some of the best undeveloped property in the area. If developed properly, it could be a big boost to the city. If not … well, it could hurt.
So it seems wise to want as much information as possible. No one knows for sure what the council and the developer have been discussing behind closed doors. That has properly been kept quiet and will likely remain that way for the near future.
One thing we do know is there is a legitimate concern about whether we have enough water to meet the needs of the development. Without water, there is no development, no new housing, no shopping. Heck without water, there is no Page as we know it.
I think the council has rightly gone slow on this issue. Let’s do a water study first, especially if the developer is willing to pay for it. Before selling some of the best property in the city, we need guarantees the future development won’t hurt what’s already here.
The second issue was related to a private business and whether it can put a sign on city property. Ultimately, I think the city handled this properly. City staff saw the sign, talked to the business and decided to get guidance from council before making a permanent decision.
Yes, there were some mistakes. The business owners should have been notified, communication among city employees should have been better.  But the end result is a pretty good one. Instead of making a hard-headed decision on their own, city staff asked the council what they wanted to do.  That seems logical and fair.
The council decided rather than making a hasty decision it wanted to meet with the city attorney for guidance. Another good decision. Right now, we don’t know what the council will decide. When they do, criticism may be appropriate. So far, going slow seems like a good way to handle things.

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