Planning & Zoning - the Real Story
Questions from Tuesday, 10/22/97
Question: I have a separate business shop at my home and I have heard that if zoning passes I will not continue operating that business. Is that true?
His Answer: If zoning passes, it will not affect your business or any other currently operating in the county. All existing businesses will be "grandfathered" in; that is, they will be allowed to continue if zoning is passed, no matter what the nature of the existing business is.
My Comment: Again the answer is correct, but it omits a few items. You will have one year to apply for proper zoning, but without the procedural requirements of a new application. You may have to prove that this business was in operation prior to the election date. If you wish to sell the house & business, the new owner is restricted in what changes he can make. If you sell your house and move to a new one, you'll have to get approval to reopen your business at the new location.
Question: How was the temporary planning and zoning commission selected?
His Answer: One representative from each of the 15 townships was appointed by the Johnson County Commission. These 15 people, primarily farmers, agreed to serve without pay to develop the zoning document so the people of Johnson County would know what they would be voting on in the Nov. 4 election.
My Comment: Correct. What isn't said is that zoning advocates discussed preparing a slate of potential appointees to nominate to the County Commission (Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal, 4/4/96, quoting David Heimann).
Question: I am not sure if zoning is good or bad and I really don't know much about it. How can I find out more?
His Answer: I hope everyone will read the documents and if they don't understand it, they can contact their township representative and ask questions. After reading the document and asking questions, then I hope everyone will go to the polls and vote whichever way they feel serves them best. Copies of the document are available in the public libraries, ton halls and restaurants in some of the smaller towns. Copies may also be purchased at the Johnson County Courthouse.
My Comment: I agree that everyone should TRY to read the document; however, the township representatives aren't always aware of the implications of all areas of the plan. Also, you can join many area business owners who, despite the fact that zoning would be in their economic interest by making it difficult for competitors to locate in the county, are voting NO on principle.
Question: Will horse really be banned if county zoning passes?
His Answer: Absolutely not. Horses will not be banned, nor will any other animals be banned in Johnson County if zoning passes. It was never the intention of the temporary zoning commission to do anything like this.
My Comment: True, it wasn't their intention. However, the plan specifically requires a property owner or tenant to get permission (a CUP) to have livestock on anything less than 20 acres (Addendum, Page 1). While I don't imagine one would be difficult to obtain, this is a prime example of the 'law of unintended consequences' at work.