Johnson County Missouri
Planning & Zoning
Planning & Zoning - the Real Facts
Paid for by Bill Wayne, 431 SE County Road Y, Warrensburg, MO 64093
Special Question: Will zoning be mandatory if Johnson County becomes a 1st Class County?
Question 1: Will P&Z keep out "Mega Farms"?
- Answer: No. Certain officials have been spreading this story since the initial meeting of the temporary P&Z Commission. The specialist attorney advising the P&Z Commission stated that this was untrue.
- Answer: Under this plan, all agricultural operations are exempt, including all free-range livestock. For the biggest confinement operations, state law already sets minimum distances from occupied homes.
However, neither state law nor this plan require any minimum distance for operations with 95,000 chickens, 50,00 turkeys, 2400 hogs, etc. - they can be located on a 20 acre plot right next to you and you can't do anything about it (with or without zoning). Nor can you do anything about free range hogs upwind of you.
Question 2: Will P&Z keep out "juice bars" or other adult entertainment?
- Answer: Not necessarily. Any that exist now or are under construction as of the election date are not affected. New ones would have to go though a zoning process which may prevent their operation (subject to court review).
Question 2A: What about "Group Homes" such as "halfway houses," etc.?
- Answer: Not necessarily. Group homes would require a Conditional Use Permit. In any case, these are generally regulated by the appropriate state agency.
Question 3: Will P&Z make my neighbors dispose of their sewage properly?
- Answer: They're already supposed to. The County has passed a sewage ordinance which our County Pubplic Health Service is supposed to be enforcing. The ordinance is incorporated by reference into the zoning rules, but zoning adds nothing we don't already have. Sewage plants & landfills are state-regulated and the county can't really do anything about them.
Question 4: Will P&Z keep my neighbors from putting in a mobile home?
- Answer: No. There are no restrictions on mobile homes; however, they will have to be on permanent foundations unless in a mobile home park.
Question 5: Will P&Z make my neighbors clean up their "junky" property?
Answer: No. That would take a specific "nuisance" ordinance which the planning group did not address. One could be written at any time by the County Commission, whether or not we have zoning, without any public vote.
Question 6: Will P&Z solve any existing problems, then?
- Answer: No. Our existing problems are 'grandfathered' in for perpetuity.
Question 7: Can I sell off a couple of acres along the road to someone to build a house?
- Answer: Yes ... but there are rules. You can sell one parcel off any currently existing acreage as long as both remaining parcels meet the minimum lot size for that zoning area.
You can divide large parcels down to 35 acre plots without any problem, then sell off one plot from that 35. After that, you need to go through the "subdivision" rigamarole - kind of hard on those landowners who counted on selling their land to fund their retirement.
Question 7A: Are there any restrictions on lot size or shape?
- Answer: No on shape, yes on size. Each zoning class has its own minimum, ranging from 1/2 acre for single family residential to 3 acres for ag & rural residential.
Question 8: If I want to open a small business on my property, am I affected?
- Answer: Possibly. If it operates out of your home and you don't have more than 4 outside employees and/or 4 visiting customers per hour, you're exempt. Otherwise, you'll need a to get a Conditional Use Permit or a zoning change.
Question 8A: What if I already have a business?
- Answer: You're supposedly OK. You'll need to look at the maps in the courthouse to see if you're on it. If not (which is highly likely), you'll have to follow some procedures for letting the zoning commission know you exist.
If you can prove you existed prior to the election and only want a continuing use, you're probably OK; if you want to be zoned commercial or industrial, the situation is more confusing, especially if you ask for more than just the immediate surroundings of an existing building.
In addition, the Zoning Administrator would have the option to waive application fees to correct errors, but he does nothave to waive the fee.
Question 9: How do I get a conditional use permit?
- Answer: You'll have to apply and meet specific criteria (see Article XV of the zoning ordinance). Then, it's approved or disapproved by the P&Z Commission.
Question 10: OK, then, how do I get rezoned?
- Answer: Depends on what you want. You humbly ask permission by submitting an application; details are prtty stringent, including lots of copies of maps, detailed plans, etc., description of what you want to do with the property and various other details.
Then, there has to be a public hearing, a majority of the P&Z commission has to approve the change, and the County Commission has the final say.
Your neighbors have the right to object. So does the nearest city, if you're within 1.5 miles of the city limits!
Question 11: What are some of the other limits on my property use?
- Answer: Pretty minimal. There are some property-line setback requirements for new construction, and unpaved parking areas have to have 8" of compacted gravel (they haven't said how this will be enforced). The most stringent requirements apply to those who want to subdivide property into many smaller lots.
Question 12: Who's responsible for carrying out the zoning laws.
- Answer: Initially, the same appointed P&Z Commission, who will face election in a year.
Ultimately, the County Commission has final decision authority. It will be enforced by an appointed administrator, who has the right to inspect your property for violations, backed by the power to fine and imprison violators.
Question 13: How will the zoning system be paid for?
- Answer: The plan contains a schedule of fees (see paragraph 11.02), which probably will not come close to paying the personnel, overhead and travel costs.
The rest will have to come from the County's already-stressed general fund (taxpayer money) - and they're cutting positions in the sheriff's office and highway department.
Note: The County has never giventhe public an estimate of how the P&Z is to be paid for.
Question 14: Are the P&Z documents (comprehensive plan & zoning ordinance) in good shape?
- Answer: This time there is actually a plan for future growth, something completely lacking in 1997. The zoning rules were developed with a "minmalist" attitude, so they lack a lot of specifics; however, the rules are generally quite permissive.
RSMo 64.725 requires the plan to be applied to incorporated towns without a plan of their own; it is unclear whether this applies to Leeton, Centerview, Chilhowee, La Tour or Kingsville, since other statutes don't give the county enforcement rights in incorporated cities.
Question 15: I live in Warrensburg or Holden. How does this plan affect me?
- Answer: It doesn't. So, don't vote in favor of it unless you believe that city people should set the rules for all who live in the county.
Besides, P&Z is an unneeded grant of power to government to control our lives.
County-Wide P&Z was turned down before because people were rightly afraid of granting government such wide powers. We should rightly fear what Government can do to us as this plan evolves.
Please Vote NO on P&Z on April 7th, 2009!
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