Government should treat constituents like business customers
July 11, 2008 · Updated 4:16 PM
Government should be here to serve its “customers” just as the Coachman Inn and other businesses do.
During my nine years as the general manager of the Coachman Inn, I have been privileged to greet some 30,000 visitors to Oak Harbor each year; that’s over a quarter million military personnel, construction workers, yachtsmen, sportsmen, naval civilian contractors, business people, along with your relatives.
It is in this spirit I wish to invite government agencies, like Development Services, to share with each member of the public, developers, builders, Realtors, and new property owners. Rather than treating each question to a public worker or building official regarding land use as an opportunity to resist and stall, it should be looked upon as an opportunity to help; their name is after all Development Services, and the development process has many steps that require assistance and explanation.
I cannot wave a magic wand and demand that our public servants suddenly become eager to help, but I can ask the building department to take a look at the permitting process and start reducing the number of steps required to complete a simple building project. It should not take an expert or someone with initials after their name to complete a building permit or site plan questionnaire.
I can ask you to help us make things better too. Recent land use actions involving property rights in ACUZ and APZ zones show how easily an owner’s rights can be trampled on. We need to ask our public officials to not only be helpful, but to follow proper procedures and notifications when our normal use of property is affected.
If you’ve had your rights side-stepped, if you’ve been delayed on construction, please let me know. I will advance a list of problem areas to the commissioners and the city council for consideration and correction. I need to hear from you to help make things better.
Fair treatment by government is not automatic. We need to insist upon it and make it happen ourselves.