Planning & Zoning - the Real Story
Questions from Thursday, 10/23/97
Question: If Zoning Passes, who will be on the planning and zoning commission?
His Answer: If zoning passes on Nov. 4, the temporary commission members will serve until the next general election in April. At that time, a representative from each township will be elected to the board. The board members will serve without pay.
My Comment: Yes, the existing temporary commission would administer the plan until a new one would be elected in April. The law allows commission members to receive expenses (the temporary commission declined to accept).
Question: Why haven't I heard much about planning and zoning before now?
His Answer: All of the meetings of the Temporary Planning and Zoning Commission have been open to the public and the times and dates have been published in the local newspaper and at the Johnson County Courthouse. There also were township meetings held in almost every township in the county, plus two general public hearings. These meetings and public hearings have been covered very well by the media in Johnson County.
My Comment: The local print media did an excellent job of reporting on what happened at the various meetings. However, local radio station KOKO was never properly notified of any of the public meetings. As a result, the Public Hearing in August was not mentioned on the front page of the Star-Journal or announced on local radio, which was reflected in the poor turnout.
Question: How did the zoning movement get started?
His Answer: It is my understanding that a petition was circulated in the western part of the county and received enough signatures to bring this issue to a vote in Johnson County. It was after this that the County Commission appointed the Temporary Planning and Zoning Commission to draft a plan that would then be voted on by the voters of Johnson County.
My Comment: The answer given is not quite correct. The petition was never officially submitted and certified so the approximately 750 names could be verified; the County Commission, knowing of the petition, initiated the process based on the newly-approved MRS 64.725.
Question: Wasn't county planning and zoning voted down by Johnson County residents back in the 1980's?
His Answer: Yes, that is true. The voters turned it down twice because at that time they were asked to vote and if it passed, then a plan would be written later. They had no idea what that plan would contain. That is the reason they decided to change the process so a plan could be written first and the voters could read it before voting.
My Comments: By about 3-1 last time! Unfortunately, the plan we are now presented with contains many of the type of provisions that people were afraid would be included when we previously voted down the 'pig in a poke.'