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Some JPB members actually acted as planners

Some promoters of the hockey rink being built on the south shore can be quite amusing at times. Consider some of their rationale favoring the recent action of the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board to raise the height limit on south shore development to 80 feet. If the account of the decision in the Aug. 13 Bemidji Pioneer is correct, here is what caused me to smile and say to myself, "Oh, really?"

Our city manager felt qualified to argue for the increase because of aesthetics. Our mayor was a real sport in explaining one of the advantages of the height increase. He soothed water navigational concerns by saying the water tower would still be the prevailing "reference point for many anglers" on Lake Bemidji. I wondered as I read this, how soon it would be before the city manager asked the City Council to approve additional dollars for the "aesthetic improvement" to this project. It would not be the first time he came back to the council for more money for the hockey rink, or, as some call it, BREC.

One City Council person reminded board members of the ordinance against future height and distance from shore exceptions, as in the case of Hampton Inn & Suites. Then the councilor went on to declare, "The Hampton Inn is probably the jewel of the lake."

When a politician speaks in double talk like that, my confidence in so-called safe guards is trumped by "oh, really?"

The three board members who voted against raising the height limit all gave reasonable explanations for their positions. For example, following existing standards and showing the community the board is consistent about what it says and what it does. Becky Livermore, Joan McKinnon, and Greg Negard have my thanks for doing their homework and acting as planners rather than politicians incapable of impartiality.

Judy McDonald