In their own words – Council candidates voter guide

Wayzata.com recently reached out to the four candidates running for two City Council seats and asked them to weigh in on a number of topics including density versus charm, public safety and much more.

Chris Hickman, Molly MacDonald, Jeff Parkhill, and Larissa Stockton are the 2022 Council Candidates. (L-R)

Here, in alphabetical order by last name are their responses: (click the name to jump to that candidate)

Publisher’s note

Candidates and members of the public may contact Wayzata.com publisher Dan Gustafson at (952) 473-1000 to request additional print copies for distribution.

Chris Hickman

Address: 484 Highscroft Road

Contact info: chrisallenhickman@gmail.com

Family: Wife of 44 years and 3 children

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Community Involvement: 3 years coaching director Wayzata traveling Soccer Club, 10 years coaching youth boys soccer, Leading a committee of four, representing the boat slip user of Wayzata lagoon. Spouse PTA president 2 years Wayzata Middle School

Previous Experience: I come from 3 generations of builders, I owned and managed an office building over 40,000 square feet for over 20 years. I understand issues related to owning and developing property.

Why are you running for city council? As a 40 year airline captain following a disciplined and methodical process for short and long term goals, I will bring the same standard and values in planning and development of our city.

What would be your top priorities as a Council Member? City planning is a complicated process. You are balancing wants and needs of the developers and the residents who I feel should come first. You cannot leave the development of our city to chance. The process needs order, balance and symmetry.

Please characterize crime and public safety in Wayzata: Over the last several year, with the increased development of our city and increased number of visitors, the city has experienced higher incidents of theft, vandalism, etc. I am aware of many incidents and concerns of the residents through the Next door and by communicating with many residents.

What measures, if any, would you propose or support to address public safety including both the police & fire departments? Obviously our city needs increased policing especially during the summer month and weekends. I have been working on a coordinated effort between the police and fire department to implement new approaches to increase their visibility without any expense to the tax payers.

How would you prioritize the competing interests from those who seek to develop Wayzata and increase density versus those who want to see Wayzata remain charming and smaller? Most residents agree that the Wayzata Charm no longer exists. The 3.10 Square Miles of Wayzata’s land is almost completely developed. To add new buildings, we must demolish another one. We can still control the level of growth and density with common sense approaches.

What would you say to members of the public who feel their voices are not heard, and how would you stay in touch with the public? I believe that the residents concerns and their input in the development process is an essential part of this process. I will maintain a web site during my term as an avenue to keep residents informed and to hear their concerns and input.

Do you have any examples of a time when you held a dissenting opinion in a professional setting? How did you approach voicing your stance in the face of disagreement? As an airline captain (wide bodied), I went through many Crew Resource Management courses and implemented this information at each flight with three other pilots in the cockpit and with a crew of 12 flight attendants. I understand that every crew member has the right to express their concerns and I have learned to respect other opinions and to value their input when making a decision. Listening is an art.

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Molly MacDonald

Address: 367 Park St E

Contact info: mollylucy@icloud.com

Family: I’ve been married to Braden for 15 years. We’re so lucky to have both of our families nearby.

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Community Involvement: I understand the Wayzata way of life. I’ve known it my entire life. I grew up here, I have invested my career here, my family is here. In 2017 I participated in a ‘think tank workshop’. I was 1 of 400 people who participated. I felt heard and I felt valued and it was a turning point in my community involvement. The outcome of those visioning exercises was the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Since then, I earned a seat on the Wayzata City Council and I look to that document and its guiding principles with every decision I make on the council. My experience on council has only deepened my commitment to serve. I now chair multiple committees, attend neighborhood and community events and I’m an active member of the Wayzata Chamber.

Previous Experience: I am the only candidate with experience on the Wayzata City Council. I’m accessible and engaged and I understand that residents come first. I listen and I am responsive. I am the only candidate with a business in Wayzata. I’m proud of my owner-operated retail store on Lake Street and it’s contribution to downtown Wayzata. I’m the only candidate who grew up in the community. I’m part of a multigenerational Wayzata family. My father in law served three terms on council and three more as mayor and my mother in law was a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly. They encouraged me to get involved and to give back to the community.

Why are you running for city council? Two years ago I was appointed unanimously to the Wayzata City Council and many of you urged me to seek another term as Council Member. There are several important projects in Wayzata at various stages of completion. Such as, Phase 2a and 2b of Panoway on Wayzata Bay, development of the former TCF building site, and the Wayzata Boulevard Corridor Study to name a few. These are projects of great importance to Wayzata’s future and I want to see them to completion to ensure the values and vision of the residents will be considered during such a critical time.

What would be your top priorities as a Council Member? I will keep the city budget in line without sacrificing our city services. I will use policy to support our liquor operations. I can apply my expertise and understanding of retail in Wayzata to our the Muni Operations. I will support efforts to maximize the profits at the Wine & Spirits to offset our tax levy and increase funds for our parks, police and city services. I will continue to fund our police department to keep our roads and parks safe for the residents. I will support our Chief of Police and his short term, mid term and long term action plane to combat noise and safety on our roads. And finally, I will remain responsive to residents which are directly impacted by development proposals and the high growth rate in Wayzata. I will use our guiding principles to keep Wayzata a quiet, friendly and beautiful community.

Please characterize crime and public safety in Wayzata: We had a busy and sometimes noisy summer in downtown, but overall (100% of the 400 people surveyed this year) people feel safe in Wayzata. I aim to keep our roads, our parks, and our neighborhoods safe by supporting the police department.

What measures, if any, would you propose or support to address public safety including both the police & fire departments? There are many tactics I support to combat noise and safety in Wayzata. In the short term, the city can install speed signs and noise ordinance signs, promote “if you see something, say something” messaging, and parking a ‘spare squad’ on Lake St. In the mid term, we can increase our citation fee for noise ordinance, explore broader technology with cameras and noise detection, and explore gates on the upper level of the Mill St ramp. Longer term, I support adding 2 additional sworn officers to our force next year and training more officers for our bike patrol. Additionally, it’s worth considering a broader strategy to diversify revenues in order to fund public safety from visitors such as a sales tax. I will continue to support our Fire Department as we consider a new full time fire chief, considering and planning for long term investments to our fleet, and encouraging new volunteers to join our Volunteer Fire Department.

How would you prioritize the competing interests from those who seek to develop Wayzata and increase density versus those who want to see Wayzata remain charming and smaller? The high growth rate remains a top concern of the residents. I will look at development proposals through the lens of the residents. Development should support their vision and their values. I will adhere to the public process to ensure transparency and encourage community engagement and feedback. My decisions will remain weighted toward the residents when developers deviate from our standards. I will continue to listen, be accessible and come to every meeting prepared and educated on agenda items.

What would you say to members of the public who feel their voices are not heard, and how would you stay in touch with the public? Please continue to voice your opinions and give feedback. I’m listening. My role on council is to represent the entire community and the residents come first, period. I invite members of the community to reach out to me directly, participate in neighborhood meetings/events, sign up for the city wide email list, join a committee or a commission. If you feel you aren’t being heard, let’s change that together. We can find a way to get you involved and be heard.

Do you have any examples of a time when you held a dissenting opinion in a professional setting? How did you approach voicing your stance in the face of disagreement? I was the only council member to vote against a parking variance on Lake Street this Summer. I remained steadfast in my knowledge of Lake Street. I assured the public and my colleagues that I have a front row seat to downtown Wayzata and that my dissenting vote was in the best interest of the community.

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Jeff Parkhill

Address: 539 Harrington Road

Contact info: jeffparkhillforwayzata@gmail.com

Family: Wife Karen and three children

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Community Involvement:
Wayzata Planning Commission – 4 yrs – Currently Chairman
Wayzata Zoning Studies Task Force
Wayzata Blvd. Corridor Study Task Force
Wayzata Community Docks Task Force
JDRF Twin Cities Board of Directors – 4 yrs
Breck School Board of Trustees – 3 years

Previous Experience: MY BUSINESS BACKGROUND POSITIONS ME STRONGLY TO ADD VALUE QUICKLY IN COUNCIL: • Proven track record on Planning …You know how I have voted for the past 4 years • Former CPA – Fiscal austerity is my specialty…as it relates to our $20 mil city budget & tax levy. I can help! • 37 yrs. of business and real estate experience • High ethical standards and a willingness to embrace the true essence of the Wayzata code of conduct.

Why are you running for city council? TO SERVE MY COMMUNITY…PERIOD! – “Service is the rent we pay for being…..” Marian Wright Edelman. Our lakes and small-town feel are what make Wayzata one of the most wonderful places to live globally…it is a WORLD CLASS CITY and a true GEM. I want to make sure the community gets a VOICE in the future of this remarkable city…. Work with me to keep WAYZATA EXTRAORDINARY! #PROTECTWAYZATA

What would be your top priorities as a Council Member? My priorities:
• SMALL TOWN SMALL DEVELOPMENTS – building mass & scale must fit the location and be charming. If not, I VOTE NO!
• BALANCE RESIDENT AND BUSINESS INTERESTS:
1. How to handle the additional traffic, noise, & parking complaints?
2. How to pay for maintenance and incremental wear & tear on our community?
3. Our downtown is struggling under the influx of new visitors.
• PRIORITIZE LOCAL VOICES: All local property tax payers are my priority.

Please characterize crime and public safety in Wayzata. Crime is on the rise…with a major altercation between an adult and a young man last weekend. Wallets stolen out of purses at CoV. Let’s get this under control before it moves off Lake Street and into the neighborhoods and personal residences.

What measures, if any, would you propose or support to address public safety including both the police & fire departments? I agree with Council’s decision to expand the police force. Regain control of Lake St. by issuing tickets for show-off driving and modified mufflers, Lower the speed limit to 25 on Lake st.. Install license plate readers that trigger a greeting by Wayzata police for those that have caused prior problems. Stronger police presence.

How would you prioritize the competing interests from those who seek to develop Wayzata and increase density versus those who want to see Wayzata remain charming and smaller? I believe my voting record shows that I weight what neighbors and the people most affected by a development or a variance over the specific project. I am not anti-development at all, but I do believe that scale and mass must fit the site and the building must be charming or i vote NO!.

What would you say to members of the public who feel their voices are not heard, and how would you stay in touch with the public? My third priority above is to Prioritize Local Voices. If you are a property tax payer in Wayzata, you are my priority. My email is Jeffparkhillforwayzata@gmail.com and my cell is 612-699-1051

Do you have any examples of a time when you held a dissenting opinion in a professional setting? How did you approach voicing your stance in the face of disagreement? This happens on the Wayzata Planning commission every meeting. I am the Chair and seek out and appreciate opposing views. This helps us all get to the best answer for each issue that comes in front of us. I am a unifying voice and can certainly handle opposing views and stand my ground if i feel strongly another way.

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Larissa Stockton

Address: 208 Byrondale

Contact info: (310) 402-3870

Family: Harris, Lukas & Geneva Stockton

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Community Involvement: Serving and connecting to our community is very important to me. Currently, I serve as Vice Chair of the Wayzata Planning Commission, member of the Zoning Study Task Force, the Design Study Task Force, and the Corridor Study Committee. These various roles have help me gain a greater understanding of Wayzata City Government and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I am also active in my children’s school. Currently, I serve on The School Committee in their High School and volunteer in other capacities as well.

Previous Experience: Beyond my experience in Wayzata, I have run my own design practice and custom kitchen retail store in London, worked in residential renovation design and development, and have done business strategy and design consultation services internationally and locally. Previous to this, I worked for Andersen Consulting NYC and London offices in Change Management Strategy Consulting. I hold a Bachelors in Business Management & Marketing and a Masters in Architectural Interior Design. These skills have been valuable in my work with the city.

Why are you running for city council? As a Mom of three teenagers, I am focused on keeping Wayzata safe and enjoyable for generations to come. I am here all year long, all the time, and committed to seeing Wayzata thrive in all seasons. We love Wayzata because it is a safe and friendly lakeside community where everyone knows your name. On my daily walks with my dog, I enjoy the intimate feeling of charm that we must strive to protect. Some folks believe this is already lost, but I know we must keep an eye on our vision going forward to define and maintain the Wayzata Way of Life – prioritizing the daily experience of the Wayzata resident.

What would be your top priorities as a Council Member?
SAFETY: Support needed resources for our amazing Police & Fire Departments.
BUDGETING: Increase transparency and identify creative solutions to maximize tax dollars & manage a balance of seasonal cost drivers.
COMMUNITY: Enhance connected walkability, fully utilize Panoway & community amenities. HOUSING: Work creatively to identify strategies for needed affordable housing opportunities.
DEVELOPMENT: Mindful sustainable development focusing on our resident’s wants & needs, addressing traffic, noise & parking.

Please characterize crime and public safety in Wayzata. An increase in interest in Wayzata and its picturesque location, as well as broader migration trends, have brought an increase in traffic, congestion, noise and unfortunately crime. All of this impacts our community. We must proactively and iteratively set policy and tone of our environment and shared spaces so our community members are safe as they enjoy the experience of Wayzata daily life.

What measures, if any, would you propose or support to address public safety including both the police & fire departments? I would support an increase in police force numbers to address the influx of visitors we have in Wayzata daily. I would support the institution of a sales tax to provide resources for Police and Fire Departments. I would support foot/bike patrolling police presence in our shared areas at key times. Uniformed officers may also include a volunteer program that adds presence and sets tone; particularly in the Lake Street area and shopping centers. I would look for imminent ways to decrease speed along our roadways both through beautiful visual demarkation of town entrances as well as speed management tools that may or may not be permanent.

How would you prioritize the competing interests from those who seek to develop Wayzata and increase density versus those who want to see Wayzata remain charming and smaller? Lake Minnetonka, a superbly beautiful natural resource, is the foundation of Wayzata’s unique beauty and attraction. We must protect our foundation. Priority should take root formation on protecting our Lake, its views and access. We must never cast a shadow on our gem of a lakeside community and therefore be highly conscientious around height, massing, and density as we change over time. These items directly impact the health of our Lake. We must clarify our vision requirements in our code to ensure it is implemented. We can be proactive in identifying facades, buildings or parks we wish to preserve as established in size or scale today. We must look for creative solutions to add housing we need for all families that does not compromise or overshadow lake life simplicity. We must focus our vision of Wayzata around the daily experience of our resident’s quality of life.

What would you say to members of the public who feel their voices are not heard, and how would you stay in touch with the public? Attending council meetings, reading local news, and watching CCTV are important ways to stay informed. I have launched a feedback button on my website for anyone to comment, connect or add thoughts on how they define the Wayzata Way of Life. This is something that I will continue after I am elected. I am also out in the community daily year round, walking my dog and visiting with friends and neighbors. I am always open for a conversation with residents to hear their thoughts and concerns. I have made it a priority to meet with people from every aspect of our community to hear their perspectives and broaden my own. You will find I am always available and transparent with our residents about any topic.

Do you have any examples of a time when you held a dissenting opinion in a professional setting? How did you approach voicing your stance in the face of disagreement? ‘Approach’ in service work is key. When we address complex topics, it is important to come to the table without assumptions or prescriptive solutions. Dialogue and exchange of ideas without a preconceived ‘answer’ is the best formula to analyze the many facets of an issue and maximize the outcomes of a decision. It’s important to ask questions, seek understanding, pause before reacting, and run scenarios to assess the impact of any one decision upon the greater whole.

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