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NorthCoast

Writing to Local Government

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How does one write to a local body of government to express an opinion but do it without going over the top and coming across as a nuisance?

(Eliminating run on questions is probably a start...isn't it? :P )

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How does one write to a local body of government to express an opinion but do it without going over the top and coming across as a nuisance?

(Eliminating run on questions is probably a start...isn't it? :P )

Just a general opinion, or one specific to development?

You can write a letter to the City Commission (or Council - find out which) and can request that it be read during the open comments section of the next regular meeting. Or you can write to each specific commissioner/council member stating your opinion. Or write to the Mayor or City Manager.

Set up the letter so that your issue is spelled out in the "Reference" line. Then just state your case clearly and explain your concern. Don't call names, don't say "I'm moving if . . ." (that's always good for a laugh), and state your alternative ideas if you have them. Then thank them for their time/consideration and be done.

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Be polite. Run spellcheck. Offer suggestions or solutions. Thank them for their hard work.

(You gonna leave us hanging like this, or do we get to help out?)

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Omit time-wasting, junk phrases such as "I just want to take a moment to say..." or "I read with interest your postion on..." or "Let me take this opportunity to state..."

That kind of thing makes the writer look weak and ineffectual from the start. Open with a short greeting, then grab by the lapels, figuratively speaking.

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I usaully write to folks in power as if I'm writting my resumes. I make them sepcific to the office I'm writting, breif, and to the point -- just like Rick Albin.

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Keep it as short and to the point as possible. Send it to the City Manager or City Council. If it is something like a regulation concern, then the City Council is the authority that can make code changes. If it is a procedural concern such as someone not doing their job or bad roads, the City Manager will be the person.

Be polite and nice as possible, thank them for the good work, and make sure that you leave contact information.

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Sorry to leave you all hanging. I posted this before taking a mini-vacation up north to see my girlfriend.

I was planning on writing actually to my local township (Georgetown) being a resident of the Jenison community. Since it isn't exactly urban I wasn't sure if mentioning it was really relevant. Its pretty obvious what my issues are; the typical sprawl, poor land use, lack of a sense of place problems. I've got a lot of thoughts on a variety of topics but some constructive criticism/comments would probably help in getting them organized. Thanks for the interest.

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Sorry to leave you all hanging. I posted this before taking a mini-vacation up north to see my girlfriend.

I was planning on writing actually to my local township (Georgetown) being a resident of the Jenison community. Since it isn't exactly urban I wasn't sure if mentioning it was really relevant. Its pretty obvious what my issues are; the typical sprawl, poor land use, lack of a sense of place problems. I've got a lot of thoughts on a variety of topics but some constructive criticism/comments would probably help in getting them organized. Thanks for the interest.

Oooh, GT Twp. I've been there a few times.

If you're not asking them for specific action (e.g. "new owner purchased a new major applicance and left it sitting in the side yard where it's been for six weeks") but raising a generally long-range planning issue ("how about some access management and controlled growth?"), you might want to copy the adjoining jurisdictions, and whatever newspaper serves your area.

I can just see Hudsonville residents fleeing the high city taxes and crime to go live in GT Twp on a 5-acre lot.

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