Holland mayoral candidates participate in public forum

The two candidates in the race are meeting in a public forum.

HOLLAND, MICH. - On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Holland voters will decide who will be the lakeshore city's mayor. Incumbent, Nancy De Boer is facing a challenge from city councilman, Jay Peters.

On Tuesday the two are expected to participate in a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Holland area.

"I know my team has been working very hard and I'm sure his team has as well," Mayor Nancy De Boer said.

De Boer is looking to keep her seat, hoping to use the next term to concentrate on affordable housing.

"I really do think a mixed development type of perspective works well, to have people of varying income levels and situations so that you have more of  what feels like a healthy neighborhood together. I would love if that was a part of what's being proposed and I would hope to be able to suggest that and be in the conversation with these people," De Boer said.

It's an issue also on the top of the list for her challenger, councilman Jay Peters.

"Much of the country has a housing affordability problem," Peters said. "I don't know that the city of Holland has all the answers. I think we need a greater regional approach on that.  I think we got to get into it. I think we got to study it. I think council has to be brought up to speed and be far more knowledgeable on what we know about these issues."

But De Boer says affordable housing goes hand in hand with another hot button issue in town, short-term rentals or Airbnbs.

"No one lives there so then long-term renters are usually kinda pushed out with the market," De Boer said.

While De Boer was in favor of Airbnb's in commercial zones, she feels they have no business in residential areas, something Peters disagrees with.

"I'm just a proponent to allow say 30 or 40 of these things to operate," he said. "The notion that this is going to ruin our schools or affects affordable housing, all those things, given the location and where they are, is just a little off the mark."

One thing Mayor De Boer wanted voters to know was if she wasn't re-elected, no women would sit on the city council.

Peters wanted voters to know, the city needs to be more welcoming to change and he feels they can do that without losing the fabric of what's made Holland great.

Tuesday's public forum will start at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber's at Holland's City Hall. 

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