“Fire breathing,” indeed
The Morgan County Commissioners have voted their passions to put the costly zoning legislation on the ballot. Vote no zoning. It will increase our taxes substantially in two ways, administration and legal defense.
Commissioner Hutchinson underestimates the taxes. The previous attempt at zoning found it would be 10% of the county budget aside from schools, or about $400,000. They are asking you to pay for their control of your land.
The legal defense of zoning is expensive and we pay for their mistakes. We have paid $50,000-$60,000 to defend two improper ordinances already. We will pay more taxes to defend this zoning ordinance that I believe contains illegal sections.
First, state law requires that we have a Comprehensive Plan before passing a zoning ordinance. Although we do have a document labeled “Comprehensive Plan,” it does not meet state law. Effectively then, it does not exist. Thus, this zoning is illegal as well. We will pay again and again for government mistakes.
Second, reading the zoning ordinance leaves most people wondering what many paragraphs mean. Most cannot figure out what they can and cannot do. This is not fair. This vagueness also violates the U.S. Constitution. The planning commission defense is “flexibility.” But one person’s flexibility can readily be abuse. And we don’t need more government abuse.
Third, the zoning ordinance creates the office of Zoning Administrator to interpret this law. Given the unfair vagueness of the law, this administrator has great power, which can be used repeatedly, such as in Bob Ford’s barn case by the planning commission. We will pay again and again for government mistakes.
Zoning supporter George Farnham believes this ordinance is more like a “fuzzy puppy” than the “fire-breathing, draconian, dragon.” Farnham, however, ignores zoning history and examples that we know all too well. Zoning grows like a cancer, eating our taxes, costing us more and devouring land uses. “Fire-breathing, draconian, dragon” is right on.
Farnham also believes that a mere 800 voters can petition the repeal of zoning. However, neither the Secretary of State nor our assessor’s office know how many signatures that will require because the law requires 50% of the affected landowners. Is there a knowledgeable, realistic pro-zoner?
Eric K. Pritchard