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May 13, 2006

WHAT WILL THE COUNTY LOOK LIKE IN 5 YEARS?

Following is the Work Session Agenda. It looks as if the county will be spending more money to correct our Zoning Ordinances. The Zoning Ordinance Review which was done by the RDC was discussed at the April 17th work session. The RDC sent a letter to the BOC in February 2006, yet no one seemed to know anything about it. There were 36 items listed, and in essence the letter said the ordinances couldn’t even be enforced. Chris Anderson, a master’s level planner, was questioned by the BOC. The questioning went like this:

Comm. Johnson—What have you done about this, Chris?

Chris Anderson—Nothing.

Comm. Johnson—When do you think this can be resolved?

Chris Anderson—To completely overhaul would take one full year.

Comm. Johnson—What are your suggestions? Just fix the 36 items?

Chris Anderson—That would be a quick fix.

Comm. Bernard—John (Nix), what is your evaluation?

Attorney Nix—What do you want your county to look like? You need Zoning Ordinances that are NOT “text out of the mill”. You want them to reflect you and how you want to be. At least get your Zoning consistent with your Land Plan. You need to get ready for what is coming 5 years from now. Need a vision of your community.

Comm. Bernard—During the Land Use Plan meetings, people said they wanted to keep the rural nature of our county.

Attorney Nix—Someone needs to help Mr. Anderson see the big picture.

Comm. Bernard—What’s it going to cost us?

The TWG asks, “What’s it going to cost us if it isn’t done?” Mr. Nix went into detail as to what could happen here without good ordinances and a good land use plan. Big business, such as a Medical Landfill, with budgets 20 times Jasper County’s would be looking for a place to put their waste, and Jasper would be a sitting duck. He indicated that our county would be “sliced and diced.”

It is disturbing that Chris Anderson, a certified planner and director of P&Z, never brought this to the BOC’s attention from February until April. When it did appear on the agenda, he did not have answers for the BOC. The end of the discussion went like this:

Comm. Bernard—How are we going to do this, Chris?

Chris Anderson—How are we going to do it? That’s the big question.

And Mr. Anderson sat down.

So here we are. No one has answers but the Request For Proposals will be discussed at the upcoming work session. How do YOU want YOUR County to look? We will be paying someone else, in addition to our P&Z director, to get this matter corrected.

TWG
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