Two candidates are running to represent Pacific’s Ward 2 in the April 5 municipal elections: Stephen Flannery and James Cleeve.
Flannery said that, if elected, his top priority would be street improvements.
“Streets are important,” he said. “I don’t think we maintain our streets properly. That’s a big priority for me.”
Cleeve said that, if elected, his biggest priority would be soliciting resident feedback. For him, that means holding town halls and more conversations with residents. He also wants to institute a city-wide survey done at least once a year, with that goal in mind.
Attracting new residents is key for Flannery. “I think we have a great opportunity to bring folks to our community,” he said. “I don’t know that we focus on that enough.
Cleeve’s next biggest priority, he said, would be zoning. He wants to properly enforce zoning ordinances and eliminate zoning changes that increase density.
The prime example, he said, was the Board of Aldermen’s decision to allow a rezoning request from McBride homes to build Manors at Brush Creek, a residential subdivision.
The subdivision garnered significant controversy over the summer when disgruntled residents spoke out against the project, asking the board to deny it on the grounds that it would increase traffic and was too dense.
“They changed the zoning ordinance to allow the aldermen to approve the plan,” Cleeve said. “That’s wrong. There’s a reason the original zoning was there. If there are some extenuating circumstances then so be it, but there wasn’t.”
Flannery, on the other hand, was supportive of the development. He spoke in favor of the development at a city meeting in June.
“I’ve never understood why a town would fight so hard against development but at the same time complain that there weren’t any decent restaurants or shopping available,” Flannery said at the time. “That’s how we get it. Rooftops increase population, and we get the amenities we want. I’m disappointed that so many smart people are so opposed to development.”
Cleeve said another priority for him would be reviewing all the city fees and taxes to see which are necessary. “I’m not a big tax guy.”
Pacific recently created its first parks department. Flannery, who spent 10 years on the park board, said he wants to see the department grow. His biggest priority for that department would be to replace the pool.
Cleeve said he hadn’t given the parks department much thought, but he wants to look at every project and determine if the city has the revenue stream for it and if it’s what the city really wants. He believes the city should look for the most family-friendly options.
Pacific is also trying to invigorate its tourism industry, most notably through the Red Cedar Inn, a project kicked off in May when the city approved a $2.2 million contract to renovate and remake the historic Red Cedar Inn into a visitors center with a museum, gift shop and genealogy research center. The city hopes to make that the focal point of its tourism industry.
“I think we could debate whether or not we need that kind of facility,” Flannery said. “But the reality of it is, the city made a decision to buy it and rehab it. And now that we have it, we need to make sure the project’s done correctly.”
He said that means promoting it in tourism magazines and getting the community to buy in.
Cleeve thinks the price tag is too high.
“I agree with the concept of the Red Cedar Inn,” he said. “But not the amount of money that the city put into it. Millions of dollars is overkill for what Pacific is right now.”
However, he said that it’s already done and so the city should “stay on course.”
Election Day is April 5. Also on the ballot will be Rick Presley, who is running unopposed for the Ward 1 spot, and Scott Lesh in Ward 3, who, after incumbent Drew Stotler dropped out of the race, is also running unopposed.