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Traverse City Candidates Sound Off

Commission Hopefuls Respond to Smart Growth Survey

October 26, 2007 | By Jim Lively
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Click on a candidate to download their responses in PDF format. Click here to download the introduction.
Michael Estes
Linda Smyka
Christopher M. Bzdok
Barbara Budros
Jim Carruthers
Scott C. Hardy
Ralph Soffredine

On November 6, 2007 Traverse City residents will vote on candidates for mayor and the city commission. The Michigan Land Use Institute feels that informed voters are the best kind of voters and that’s why we sent candidates a series of Smart Growth questions to see where they stand on issues like the environment, Traverse City population trends, regional planning efforts and more.

All mayoral and city commission candidates were given the same four questions on important land use issues facing Traverse City and three lighter questions that show a little more of the candidates personality. Responses were limited to 100 words. MLUI has reprinted the responses of the candidates that replied to our questions.

Candidates were asked the following questions:

QUESTION 1. Traverse City lost 20% of its population between 1970 and 2000 while surrounding townships doubled and tripled in size. Do you think the city needs to take action to increase its density to accommodate more of the growth that is coming to the region?

QUESTION 2. The city master plan references the importance of maintaining small town character. Do you think that is a principle that should guide city planning decisions, and if so, how do you define small town character?

QUESTION 3. The Grand Vision (also known as the Land Use and Transportation Study) is a collaborative planning process among local governments (including Traverse City), business leaders, and non-profit groups that is designed to develop a consensus for growth across the five county region over the next 50 years. How would you value the outcomes from this regional planning process to guide decisions for Traverse City?

QUESTION 4. Traverse City joined the Mayor’s Climate Protection initiative earlier in the year with a pledge to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. Do you think this was an appropriate measure for the city take? If so, please explain why.

Other Fun Questions:
If elected, what mode of transportation will you use to get to City Commission meetings?

QUESTION 6. What is the last good book you read?

QUESTION 7. What do you like best about living in Traverse City?

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
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