West Lafayette mayoral candidate Zachary Baiel says if he’s elected, he’d like to see a greater diversity of developers spending money in the city – especially locals.
Speaking Monday night on WBAA, Baiel said he’s somewhat concerned that just a few developers have done the lion’s share of the work along West Lafayette’s State Street, and he’d like to find a way to keep the market from pricing out Greater Lafayette interests.
“In any community, there’s going to be some amount of money coming from development farther, farther away," Baiel says. "However, are we making it conducive at all for local development?”
Also on the subject of affordability, Baiel says he’d like the city to have more conversations about how to build housing that isn’t just luxury apartments, such as those in several new high-rise complexes along State Street.
“It would be talking with developers, finding people that we could discuss, collaborate, incentivize to build affordable rental units," he says. "And then also home developers the same way.”
Baiel is running against three-term incumbent John Dennis. Dennis backed out of a planned Monday night debate in order to attend a function at Purdue University instead.
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Though he’s sometimes scolded the West Lafayette City Council for what he sees as a lack of transparency, Baiel says he doesn’t anticipate problems working with that body if he’s elected.
Baiel said he thinks his style of conversation with the Council could be productive if he wins.
“No, I don’t see any issue working with the City Council. Have a great rapport with all of them and I think if anything, we would be able to get into some of these issues and maybe actually have some of this discourse that apparently the community is hungry for, because that’s what we’re talking about when I go door-to-door.”
Baiel, running as an independent, had also considered whether to face off with District Two City Councilor – and current Council President – Peter Bunder in this year’s election, before deciding to take on Dennis instead.
Election Day is November 5, though early voting has already begun in Tippecanoe County.