Boosting Downtown

Our half-mile jewel of a downtown is the heartbeat of our city. I’ll continue working to make the downtown more vibrant, championing new norms like the social district — common-sense parking laws and better walkability — and restoring Farmington icons like the Founders Fest and the library.

Key votes

Approved the Farmington “Syndicate” social district to support our local restaurants and bars during the pandemic.

Approved expanded outdoor seating (in parking lots) and temporary outdoor dining structures, subject to ventilation requirements to ensure diner safety.

Voted to apply for a $1 million grant for the Farmington Road streetscape and split project costs with the DDA. Work will begin 2022.

Championed moderate growth with selection of medium-density Robertson Brothers townhome proposal for Maxfield Training Center redevelopment.

When the Chamber withdrew from the Founders Fest, I voted for the City to take it over, starting in 2021.

downtown VISION

This summer and during my next term, my priorities for downtown include:

Smart parking partnerships. Farmington doesn’t have a parking problem. We have a private parking problem. Even at the busiest times of day, downtown Farmington has more private parking spots sitting empty than we have public parking total. As a member of the Parking Committee, I am investigating ways we can incentivize business owners to make private parking available for public use — and make it available for long-term parking, so you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket if you want to stay in Farmington all afternoon.

Boosting public art through introduction of a mural ordinance. Right now, the word “mural” isn’t even mentioned in the Farmington code of ordinances. There are no guidelines pertaining to murals — only to signs. You may be thinking “But Farmington has 4 murals downtown!” True, but those were installed with the assistance of the DDA in navigating the process to request a special variance. The Zoning Board considers murals a “sign” under current ordinance, so if you want to put up a mural on the wall of a building, you’re basically out of luck. FAAC is investigating what other municipalities have done. Once we get a mural ordinance hammered out, I will bring it to Farmington City Council for approval. This will help muralists, property owners, and the DDA alike.

Updating the food truck ordinance to allow more food trucks in areas of downtown where people gather — think for events like the Friday night concerts at the pavilion. Right now, food trucks are not allowed in our main plaza.

Restore the Farmington Community Library to its once-proud status as a jewel of our community. I strongly disagree with recent decisions about how the library is run, including mass furloughing/firing of library staff, and out-of-control spending that has the library budgeting $600,000 in taxpayer dollars — 6x the spending as 2019 — to outsource work that was once done by staff. One of the board members disparaged the library as a “jobs program” and even sent an email to his buddies (which was forwarded to the press) calling Farmington residents who love and support the library a “vile mob.” Unfortunately, while library trustees are appointed by the City Councils of Farmington/FH, they aren’t accountable to anyone. Council isn’t allowed to remove them, per library law, and since trustees are not voted in, they are not accountable to the voters at all and can’t be voted out. I believe we need to change this system and move to a board that’s elected by the voters, the way City Councils are. Other communities (Northville, for example) have elected library boards. If we did this, board members would be accountable to the community or face being voted out or recalled. Moving from an appointed to elected library board requires a majority vote from both Farmington and FH City Councils.