Johnson County Missouri
Planning & Zoning
Comments for Public Hearing, Bill Wayne, 431 SE Y, Wbg (Montserrat Township).
I have been following the Planning & Zoning issue closely since last February and have attended many of the P&Z Commission's work sessions. They have worked hard to try to resolve the many problems in the plan developed by the consultants, who have never seemed to be interested in tailoring a plan to THIS county.
A basic question is one of philosophy. The essence of zoning is to institute Government control over everyone's land use because of the actual or perceived misdeeds of few. P&Z imposes blanket controls even when specific controls, such as a sewage disposal ordinance, could readily be adopted to address specific problems. The philosophy behind comprehensive P&Z is "Big Brother Knows Best", a philosophy of Government control over our personal & economic lives. What's worse, it encourages people to spy on their neighbors to report 'violations'.
There are far too many major areas of concern about the plan to discuss in 5 minutes, not in the least that it's still constantly changing; I'll address only a few.
The Zoning Ordinance and so-called County Plan, in its latest incarnation, constitutes a deep and unnecessary intrusion into the lives and rights of rural residents. It controls too much of the 'little people' while minimally hindering those with money and influence. Should it be approved, we will have to ask the Government for permission to conduct virtually any economic activity other than farming. Controlling their own neighbors isn't enough for some residents of Warrensburg and other towns; their strategy is to get the townies to vote in a system to control how we out in the country are to live. Is that what we really want imposed upon us?
1. The biggest problem with the plan itself, other than continuing uncertainty over what business activities will & won't be allowed in the various districts, is the lack of zoning districts for commercial & industrial establishments. Instead, those that are shown at all on the maps are shown as Conditional Use Permits. Having a CUP instead of zoning affects the ability of the owner to sell or develop the land. The P&Z Commission has a form for us to fill out to request the proper zoning, as originally promised in the township meetings; however, if the maps aren't fixed before the election, citizens will not be able to see how they & their neighbors are zoned BEFORE voting. If the ordinance is passed, the existing map has the force of law and the P&Z & County Commissions will be hard-pressed to approve Commercial or Industrial zonings without complying with the site plan & public hearing requirements of the ordinance.
2. The law that allowed this procedure to go forward says that the P&Z shall include all incorporated towns that don't have P&Z themselves. The plan doesn't, but I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation, citing appropriate statutes, of why Centerview, Chilhowee, Leeton, & Kingsville aren't included. Note: I finally found a citation, but there are conflicts between the various laws
3. The plan gives excessive powers to special interests. Zoned & incorporated cities have what amounts to veto power over zoning changes up to 1-1/2 miles from their city limits. The City of Warrensburg, home of the most vocal advocates of county-wide zoning, would effectively control all property use as far east as CR 401, as far south as Valley View, as far west as CR 251 and north to the Blackwater. Knob Noster, because of its extended city limits along US-50, would control commercial development on US-50 almost to Montserrat. You can drive the roads & look at the maps and figure it for yourself. Even more frightening, the owner of only 30% of neighboring property has similar power. And, the ordinance effectively gives control of development in the Whiteman airfield zone to the Federal government, depite the fact that airport zoning failed badly in a recent election. Note: The airfield zoning was removed from the final ballot version addendum
4. Zoning advocates tell me that zoning would protect my bed & breakfast from junky property across the road. I say that a trashy neighbor wouldn't affect me nearly as much as 90,000 chickens - totally unrestricted by the plan - in the same place.
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