Biz Beat: City needs an attitude change, business leaders say


The Cieslewicz administration is moving quickly to streamline the city review process for new development -- just weeks after a narrow OK of the controversial Edgewater hotel project.

A memo from city Economic Development Director Tim Cooley lays out an ambitious timetable that calls for a draft report by Sept. 1 and action by the Common Council on Nov. 8.

"It's going to be tough to get this done but it's imperative that we do," says Cooley.

The Mayor has established several goals for the initiative, calling for a review process that is "efficient; predictable and uniform; and maintains the city's existing high standards."

 A full list of related documents is available here.

The effort, coming in advance of the April 2011 election, is also meant to counter charges the city can't put two sticks together unless it's the government or UW doing the building -- or a private developer with $16 million in TIF like the Edgewater deal.

Top city business leaders are already working to take the lead on changing the game for land use and building approvals.

A group headed by Bill White, an attorney frequently hired by developers to guide their projects through the maze of city meetings, has come out with a series of recommendations. At the top of the list: a change in attitude.