Channelling My Thoughts – By Will Channell


How to build a city
There’s an old computer game called Sim City where, as the name suggests, you build a simulated city.
You can put whatever type of zoning you want anywhere you want, you can plop a hospital down wherever. You can destroy and rebuild roads at will.
Anyone with half a brain should know that isn’t how cities work. Marysville officials can’t simply make a Longhorn Steakhouse appear out of thin air.
It seems a lot of people, however, believe the real world is like Sim City.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve covered some proposed construction projects that have come before various committees and boards. One was a luxury vehicle storage facility, while others were fast food restaurants like Hardee’s and Arby’s.
We posted summaries of those stories on our Facebook page to see what readers thought, and imagine my surprise when I found out that the city has apparently gotten into franchising!
Many residents seem to assume that when the city gets a Hardee’s, that means the city decided one day to get itself a Hardee’s. Many more lamented that their tax dollars were going toward the construction of new businesses, as if the city is responsible for hiring contractors.
It’s been a frustrating show, going through all these comments and seeing the misinformation people are inadvertently spreading. City council even mentioned the gossip in a meeting last month.
In order for a company to come to Marysville, the company needs to, you know, want to come to Marysville. That’s after extensive research of markets and potential profitability on their part.
There was also some hubbub of people asking why the city would allow these new, potentially “unwanted” businesses. If a company owns an appropriately zoned piece of land, the city can’t say it’s not allowed to build, even if officials feel it’s a bad idea. The planning commission or design review board can tell a company they don’t like a particular site plan or building, but the company will begin working with the city until some sort of compromise is reached.
In other words, the city can deny a design, but not the company’s right to build and operate. And anyone who thinks the city should make it harder for a company to locate here is missing the point of living in a free country.
However, while residents should cut the city a break, they can voice their desires in other ways. Namely, contacting businesses they’d like to see locate here. If you want Panera Bread to come to Marysville, tell them. Use social media, email or phone to get a hold of Longhorn Steakhouse and tell them you’d like them to locate here. It probably won’t work, but there’s a better chance there than asking the city for it.
Wanting new restaurants isn’t a bad thing, and discussing what you want on social media is great. But a lot of folks have been directing their frustration at the wrong people. Contact the businesses, not the city.
-Will Channell is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.

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