Traverse City Residents Speak on Proposal 3

Tall buildings are a hot-button topic in Traverse City — and in a couple of weeks, people who live there will be able to have their say.

Proposal 3 would require any project over 60 feet tall to first be approved through public vote.

Driving through Traverse City, you see plenty of signs both for and against the proposal.

Both sides have very different reasons for feeling so strongly about the issue.

“If we are at the point now where we don’t want anything more than 60 feet, then I think we should change the zoning ordinance,” said Brenda Quick. She’s part of the Save Our Downtown Campaign Committee that supports Proposal 3. “It’s not simply allowing a small select group of people to make a decision for everyone.”

Opinions run strong on whether or not to pass "Proposal 3" in Traverse City.

“I think it will really hinder any developments coming through because I think a developer is perhaps not going to spend the time to come up with a 90-foot proposal when he knows he’s gotta wait for a public election,” said Bob Otwell, who served on Traverse City’s Planning Commission for seven years in the ‘90s.

The Save Our Downtown Campaign Committee says it’s crucial to let the public vote on each project that’s over 60 feet tall.

They hope to preserve the city’s unique look and keep up with tourism.

“You can get water anywhere in the state of Michigan. What Traverse City has though is unique. We not only have all of the beauty, but we also have all of the conveniences,” Quick said.

Bob Otwell served on Traverse City’s Planning Commission for seven years in the 90s.

He’s against the proposal.

He says it should be the Planning Commission’s job.

“We’re going to just vote as a public for a project that might be a project similar to the park place that I think everybody loves that’s over 60 feet,” Otwell said.

One thing both sides can agree on… Whether the proposal passes or fails, it will have lasting impact.

“It can change the character of this community and impact its economy forever,” Quick said.

Election Day is November 8. To read the proposal, follow this link.