OPINION: Incivility has no place in Boyne City

By Chris Faulknor, Publisher

If you can’t conduct yourselves in a civilized manner while in public, then don’t go out into public until you can.

I’m referring to the meeting of the Boyne City Planning Commission on Monday Feb. 18.

 

People had a lot to say to the developers planning a new dental office to go on Lake Street, which will include housing and additional business space.

I’m not saying anything about the plans, the developers, or even the business owner, as they have nothing to do with my point.

What I will say is that the way people acted during the meeting was embarrassing.

The loud clapping and cheering between public comments—only the comments that agreed with the group, mind you—was obnoxious.

I cringed every time it happened, because I imagined myself in that company’s shoes.

They weren’t being malicious, they weren’t trying to take over Boyne City, they simply drew up a set of plans based on the specifications they were given and stated in the beginning that they were open to things needing to be improved.

So, to clap and cheer every time someone said something disparaging about their project was nothing short of rude.

The people making loud comments to each other every time the developer or a member of the planning commission spoke should also be ashamed—one of you sat near me; be glad my recorder didn’t pick up your voice—I don’t think you’d want your comments quoted in the newspaper.

There is a specified time and place for public comment, and most of you took advantage.

So why did everyone need to keep making little comments out of turn?

Speaking of public comment, I feel I should address its purpose.

It’s intended for people to stand up and voice their opinion to the board.

It’s not for you to stand up and expect to comment on the issue and then comment again three different times during the meeting, making the same point, by the way.

We want new business in Boyne City. We want people to invest in our community.

Heck, any type of commerce is good for the economy.

That doesn’t mean the plans presented were perfect, but to subject someone with a project idea in mind to raucous jeering?

I have to wonder where Café Sante would be if Glen Catt were treated that way in 2009 when he first presented his Brownfield request to the Boyne City Commission.

Precision Edge came in with cheers and accolades from the community.

How do you take a developer that said repeatedly that they were open to changes and treat them like that?

I’m normally so proud of our citizens in Boyne City.

I’m always so excited to see the teamwork, encouragement, and kindness that comes out of our citizens and business owners.

Now I’m left wondering what happened.

If this is how people with ideas are treated when they welcome feedback in Boyne City, it’s going to be a rough road ahead.

If you think I’m being unfair, I’m glad to accept a letter to the editor.

If you’d like to apologize to the folks who came to that meeting, I’d gladly accept letters for that, too.