Highland's new City Council members will take the oath of office Wednesday evening, Jan. 8, and assume their City Council duties.
But Councilmen-elect Brent Cook, Ron Spence and Glen Thurgood have not rested on their laurels since winning a landslide election on Nov. 12. The three have been busy preparing for their new positions."Once the campaign is over, it's time to buckle down and get to work," Cook said.
Cook has already met with several neighborhood groups on both sides of the political fence and has discussed their concerns.
"I think sometimes in a campaign people build up the wrong impressions - one group is for growth, the other isn't - that's not the case here. We are for growth only if it is favorable for the community. I'm not afraid to turn down proposals if I think it will help Highland," Cook said.
Development in Highland means simply building a grocery store and allowing smaller lot sizes for retired residents. The issue is the biggest topic of debate in this affluent bedroom community.
Spence said the issues are just a reflection of the changing attitude among Highland residents.
Spence has been studying the history of Highland and says the thoughts and ideas of the city's founding fathers are not necessarily the same as those of the large immigrant population now living there.
"We've had a lot of people move in during the 13 years that Highland has existed and, although we still have a lot in common with the city's founders, some of our needs have changed," Spence said. "I think the major issue and difference is our feeling about commercial development."
City officials need to develop and improve the master plan and zoning guidelines before allowing any commercial development.
Thurgood expressed another concern the new City council hopes to address in the new year: improved relations with Highland's neighboring cities.
"We'll do that simply by talking to the folks in decisionmaking positions in the other cities and developing relationships with them," Thurgood said. By opening more dialogue, Thurgood hopes to prevent confrontations like the one over construction of a cellular telephone tower, recently built on county property next to the Highland city limits.