Ordinance is non-intrusive
The proposed zoning ordinance for Morgan County is probably going to be on the ballot in November. It is a non-intrusive, simple proposal that protects the rights of citizens.
With current laws in place, your neighbor is free to set up a large, noisy business that can make your life miserable and lower the value of your property. Examples are an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) race track, an outdoor concert stage or a bar that sells alcohol.
The Morgan County Planning Commission and the County Land Use Committee have created a very well thought-out zoning ordinance that restricts the type of businesses that would make offensive neighbors. The unique overlapping districts of the ordinance permits smaller and quieter businesses such as antique shops, ceramics, woodworking and bed and breakfasts to operate anywhere in the county, even in residential areas.
If you already operate a business that would not normally be permitted in a residential area, you would be allowed to continue that business. You can even double the size of it.
In spite of what you might hear, the zoning ordinance imposes no restrictions on farming, the color you must paint your house or how often you have to cut your grass. If you hear that the zoning ordinance does something outlandish, it is probably an exaggeration by the opponents of zoning, who seem intent on making this an emotional issue instead of one based on the facts.
The people who created the zoning ordinance were a diverse group, representative of the people who live here. It included farmers, developers, hunters, environmentalists and business owners. They hammered out a reasonable document that protects your investment in your home or business. It also protects our water rights, rivers and hunting areas, and limits billboards to a short section of U.S. 522. The best way to learn what the zoning ordinance does is to read the document on the county government website and attend the public meetings that will be held.
The next public meeting is Thursday, July 29, 7 p.m., at the new Morgan County Courthouse. Take this opportunity to see our new public building and find out about the zoning ordinance from our elected officials and county employees. I believe that once the voters of Morgan County understand the ordinance, they will vote to pass it in November.