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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Nichols

Red Tape Runs Rampant in Corcoran

On October 14th, the Corcoran Business Community hosted a forum to meet and hear from candidates running for City Council and Mayor. At the forum, I shared the story of my dad’s career in the construction business. As I grew up working with my dad, I saw the commitment and struggle needed to make any business succeed. Corcoran needs to do all that it can to allow its existing businesses to grow and thrive, provide reasonable accommodations as needed, and to make satisfaction of the city’s business customers (along with residents) a top priority.

That is not the current state of affairs. Currently, Corcoran has relies on outside contractors for key services, planning being one of these, and the result has been red tape and unreasonable demands that businesses struggle to meet.

The city government has created too much distance between the planner and the customers (residents and businesses). The planner is an employee of Landform, who works for the city administrator, who works for the council & mayor, who collectively work for the city residents. When you divide a service provider from a customer by 4 degrees of separation, it is a recipe for poor service, which was evident at the forum. For example:

  1. One business owner told of being asked to put in a fence behind his property despite the property already being screened on the rear by a berm with trees planted on top, and the neighbor behind him was the back wall of a similar business.

  2. Another told of having to place the sign on a planned building on a side that does not face the major traffic path.

  3. Another told a story of being forced to pay $80,000 to put in a asphalt parking lot before allowing the ground to settle, and now is facing the inevitable cracking and pavement failure from not being able to follow recommended practices for his soil type.

  4. Another told a story of wanting to add a second garage door to his business, but was told that he already had too many entrances and exits from his building and would have to get rid of an extra/exit door if he wanted 2 garage doors.

Many business owners expressed great levels of frustration with the condescension they have faced, not just from the Landform planner, but also from City Council incumbents and candidates at the forum itself. Some of these individuals presumed to tell the business owners that burdensome zoning requirements were necessary for them to attract customers.

The new council needs to work toward a planning function that is a city owned process run by city staff who are accountable to the residents and businesses. The city needs to improve ties with businesses through regular meetings, promote Corcoran businesses within its communications, and have a commerce section on its website. Lastly, Corcoran needs to treat businesses already working in the city as the assets and partners they are. If elected, I look forward to advancing these goals.

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