Before the mud slinging of his opponent, before the rhetoric from his opponent, came this email to Franklin’s Mayor Tom Taylor and the Common Council from then former Alderman Steve Olson and soon to be Mayor Steve Olson.
Mayor Steve Olson has been and I believe will be a major driving force in intelligent, well though out development in Franklin. He will choose the right path, the best path for development to flourish in Franklin. Something we have not seen in a long time, especially with the Franklin Forward (backwards) Committee spearheaded by Mayor Olson’s opponent.
From: Steve Olson
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 8:36 PM
To: ‘Alderman’; ‘Tom Taylor’
Cc: Mark Luberda; Jesse Wesolowski; Joel Dietl
Subject: 70/30 goal.
Dear Mayor, Aldermen and staff:
Please accept the comments below with all due respect.
I’m listening to the 70/30 goal discussion and have a few points:
First, I chaired the committee that came up with the goal. It was comprised of members of the Economic Development Commission, the Community Development Authority, Common Council, the Plan Commission, the Franklin School Board, a couple of developers and other interested parties. The goal was not determined in a hap hazard manner but came after many, many discussions, arguments, meetings and frank conversations. That goal resulted in the basis for the first city wide economic development plan ever done in the United States called the Ticknor report and was followed by the implementation plan for 5 areas called “Franklin First.”
- This goal is ONLY related to total ASSESSED VALUE of the community NOT tax rate or taxing districts. So any conversation regarding the different school district is not appropriate based on history.
- The ratio defines the 70% as properties who have RESIDENTS. That includes single family, multi-family, condominium and apartments. Apartments are assessed as commercial and those were backed out and put into the residential numbers.
- Those on the committee always recognized and stated their responsibility to the CITY and not to individual taxing entities.
- The committee (Economic Development Strategic Plan Steering Committee) was unique in that there was no “politics” involved. There weren’t “turf wars.” They recognized that business will go to the areas that will make them successful. You can’t build an office or office park in the middle of a residential area. You can’t attract retail to a corn field. You can’t tell Northwestern Mutual to not develop on 27th Street but to the corner of Hwy. 100 and Loomis. That kind of comment is great politics but is wholly unrealistic. It just can’t and doesn’t work.
- The committee recognized that we needed to provide proper zoning to make it easier to move a commercial/industrial business to Franklin (including retail) but that the zoning couldn’t be done in a vacuum.
- The committee recognized that zoning must be based on the strong likelihood that a business that we wanted to attract to the area would be likely to WANT to be located in that physical area. That’s a major reason why the Ticknor report focused so heavily on market research. Again, you can’t put a business park in the middle of a residential area or a retail center in a corn field. The Ticknor report places a heavy emphasis on TRANSPORTATION needs of the various types of companies that we indicated our desire to attract. That’s why you don’t see a recommendation for a business or industrial park on the north and west side of the city. That’s why “Area D” in the report was the designated “next business park.” Instant access to I-94 was to be a huge selling factor.
- Impact fees did not factor into the ratio due to the fact that they are not part of the assessment value but are specific to defraying cost of the development on the operating budgets of the city.
- It’s ALWAYS about maximizing the taxable value of the commercial and industrial development in an effort to reduce the tax burden of the residential taxpayers.
- The discussions always came back to the then current makeup of the city as in where people lived, where the businesses were located currently, where we were getting developer interest over laid on what the group wanted the city to look like in 2020 or 2025.
- The committee relied on our own points of view and the survey done by Hughes, Ruch and Murphy regarding the desires of the community regarding development and quality of life issues. This is the study that reinforced the desire for a TARGET STORE and the basis for the controversial votes made for the Shoppes at Wyndham Village in the early 2000’s.
- The goal attainment will be in flux. Some years commercial/industrial will outpace residential, most years will see residential outpace commercial/industrial and therefore, achieving the goal changes year to year until the city is built out.
- Because the goal would be a moving target year over year, the committee recognized that protecting commercial/industrial lands with appropriate zoning was key to meeting the goal. We can see the impact on this with the residential development near Wheaton Franciscan (Area D) and the Stonehenge development (Area A). Taking zoned industrial/commercial land and making it residential has a doubling effect that adversely impacts attainment of the goal.
- The focus of the economic development activities up until about 2000 was always to attract industrial/commercial tax base NOT to fill retail space. If there are empty buildings that we WANT to fill, they’re still being levied taxes and focusing on that effort would dilute the effort. The effort was then to continue to attract NEW tax base. Filling an empty space was a by-product of the effort not the goal.
- The goal was derived after significant and laborious review of a ton of documents that included the Comprehensive Master Plan, zoning maps (that’s where the 11 then 7 areas studied by Ticknor came from), assessment rolls, utility maps, SEWRPC maps and documents, DOT long range plans, school district planning documents, zoning maps from our neighboring communities, historic development (commercial/industrial and all forms of residential) trends in the city and many, many other documents and interviews that were in effect at the time (1997 through 2000).
- It was often discussed and always recognized that this was going to be a long, long term project.
- Many involved discussed whether the decision makers would resist “we’ll take anything that comes along to meet the goal or whether they would look to “quality” and “enhanced quality of work and residential life” in making approval decisions.
- Then Economic Development Director Stan Kosmatka and I spent many, many days interviewing development officials from other communities about their methods, organization, duties.
There is no history left on the Common Council (it’s natural) or on any of the involved boards, commissions or authorities thus this e-mail.
It’s always been a CITY goal, not a taxing entity goal. It’s always been about gross ASSESSED VALUE of the city, not school districts.
It’s about MAXIMUM TAXABLE VALUE PER ACRE OF COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT so that we could LESSEN THE TAX BURDEN ON THE RESIDENTIAL TAXPAYER and in the process, IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE CITY.
I’ll end this e-mail with another thought. Once a parcel is developed it will remain that way for our lifetime and probably the lifetime of the next generation. Decisions need to be made for the long term.
Thank you for the time.