Johnson County Missouri
Planning & Zoning

Planning & Zoning - the Debate
Prepared 10/30/97
by Bill Wayne, 431 SE County Road Y, Warrensburg, MO 64093

Introductory Remarks

I'm not here to talk about whether planning & zoning, in the abstract, is good or bad. Even we who united to oppose this ballot issue differ in philosophy - many who support the concept of P&Z oppose this plan & ordinance. Its advocates say: "any P&Z, no matter how flawed, is better than none - vote it in & we'll clean it up later." - even to the extent of pressing the County Commission to place the terribly flawed early plan on the ballot in April, despite the lack of required legal notice for the hearing. We say: "let's not go into this with a county plan that doesn't plan and a zoning ordinance that is riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, unintended consequences and nit-picking detailed regulations that aren't needed in this county." So, I'm not here to say that all zoning is bad, but that THIS zoning is bad.

One major problem is that there has been no open forum to ask questions and raise issues and correct oversights. The plan revisions were not available to the public from February until July, when the so-called "Ballot Version" was printed. The Public Hearing was not well publicized - this radio station was never notified - and the ground rules militated against good feedback. The recent "Factual Answers" series in the newspaper is one of the most blatant examples of one-sided journalism I've ever seen, with the Commission's opinion purveyed as "Factual" even when they're incomplete or just plain mistaken, as shown by the waffling on the "horses on 5 acres" issue.


1. Uncertainty over many provisions & possible conflicts with state law.

2. Administration issues

3. Alternatives to zoning for specific problems:

4. Lack of comprehensive plan for future: A comprehensive county PLAN was not prepared. One of the key underpinnings for planning is to give purchasers of land some reasonable assurance of the type of development that is suitable for neighboring land. State law requires a comprehensive plan, the so-called plan repeats this justification, and we were told time and again that the plan should envision what the county should look like in 5-10-15 years. In reality, the comprehensive plan is "how it's used now." This means that every change is decided by who can do the best job convincing the County & P&Z commissions and that the reasonable assurance isn't there!


As one of the people who have been called "self-serving" for opposing additional government controls, I want to point out that zoning making locatiing in Johnson County unattractive for possible competitors would be in my economic interest.

As one of the people to whom you have attributed "ignorance, inexperience and incompetence" and have compared to vandals in your letter published on October 23rd, I don't understand why you and your committee won't address the specific issues of this plan rather than attack the motives and abilities of those who have found problems, contradictions and flaws in the plan.

As to scare tactics, I guess one's viewpoint depends on what one finds scarier. Historically, the growth of government is a process of people trading freedom for security. Is the small amount of security to be gained worth the freedom to be given up - given up to people who use personal attacks and tainted journalism to promote their position.

Once this is defeated, we hope that the county will come together to solve the identified problems. This will be an opportunity for the County Commission to truly show leadership and encourage the type of citizen involvement as promoted in Karen Shannon's letter in last night's paper.

A post-script: A distant cousin of mine once said "I don't give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell."

Please Vote NO on P&Z this November 4th!

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