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2013 Election - Bridgeport City Council, Position No. 1

Name: Matthew Schuh

Age: 28

Family: Married to Susan Schuh, a fourth-grade teacher at Bridgeport Elementary

Occu-pation: Person in-charge at Safeway, substitute teacher

Career/educational background: I graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2007 with a B.A. in political science and sociology. I have worked over eight years for Safeway, and have been a substitute teacher for six years. I have served on Bridgeport’s Planning Commission since 2009, and been chairman since 2011.

• Given the recent debate over mixed-use zoning for commercial and residential uses, what are your thoughts on how it relates to the community’s economic development?

Bridgeport has an excess inventory of underutilized buildings which would be perfect for mixed-use development within the central business district and traffic commercial zones.

By allowing mixed-use buildings, merging business and residential, we bring development to our commercial areas allowing living and shopping areas.

Using these underutilized buildings can improve the availability of housing in the city of Bridgeport and strengthen our downtown core. Creating a business-friendly town is a top priority of mine, because Bridgeport will not succeed without having a thriving business community, which provides its citizens with the goods and services they desire.

• What is one of the most important issues the city needs to address and what specific steps would you take to address that issue?

One of the most important issues Bridgeport needs to address is clear, straightforward building and business policies. By allowing groups to manipulate the intent of the City Council and Planning Commission, the city of Bridgeport has created an environment of squeezing houses into lots which are too small to adequately house more than one dwelling.

Once elected, I will work with my fellow council members to create straight-forward and streamlined building ordinances to encourage development in open and available areas of the city. By encouraging commercial development at the same time, we get balanced and sustainable growth.

• How should the city address a need for affordable housing?

The city of Bridgeport should work with community-based organizations to encourage responsible and sustainable growth, within open available areas of the city, for affordable housing.

The City Council needs to direct the conversation, to make sure new housing adequately fits the landscape and existing housing structures of the zoned area. By encouraging affordable housing, we necessitate the need for business and light industrial growth to provide available jobs for our community.

Affordable housing development strengthens our community and helps increase tax revenue to the city through increased property and sales tax receipts within our city limits.

Michael Knox, a candidate for Bridgeport City Council position No. 1, did not respond to The Chronicle’s candidate questionnaire.

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