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Zoning: It's time to make a decisionPosted Friday, December 10, 2010, at 3:01 PM
Well, for those of you in the county expecting to hear more about land use management or zoning in a public forum meeting before the end of this year, listen up.
There will not be a second public meeting to discuss the controversial topic before the year 2010 ends.
As you remember, the Greene County Commissioners issued a directive in August to the Greene County Plan Commission to conduct at least two public meetings before Dec. 31 to discuss the need for zoning, land use management or whatever you want to call it.
The action came after representatives from the WestGate Authority, Hoosier Energy, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., and the Greene County Economic Development Corporation asked the commissioners to move the process forward in some fashion.
The first meeting was Sept. 21 at the Greene County Cooperative Extension Service's community room at the fairgrounds.
A date for the second meeting has not been scheduled and I was told on Thursday morning not to expect any kind of zoning meeting any time soon.
I understand some of the organizers were less than thrilled with how the first meeting turned out and have been unable to decide if and when the next meeting will take place.
The first meeting saw about 100 folks turn out for a forum that evolved into a pep rally for those around the county who are less than thrilled with the idea of land use management.
The pro-zoning proponents did a less-than-convincing job of pleading their case about the benefits that even restrained or limited land use management will afford this county.
The basic proposal that was presented at the forum showed the only areas that are being targeted for land use or zoning restrictions -- of either business, agriculture, residential or industrial-- include:
* Near Scotland to the WestGate Tech Park and along U.S. 231 north for a few miles from the State Road 58/U.S. 231 junction.
* Near State Road 45, State 445 and State Road 54 to Monroe County line -- from near the proposed S.R. 45 interchange for I-69 is planned north almost to Greene County Chapel Road.
There are no areas in the western part of the county or around the cities of Linton and Jasonville or close to the towns of Bloomfield, Lyons, Switz City or Newberry that are currently tabbed to be under zoning restrictions.
To me it looks like a reasonable proposal that most of the people could live with and economic development could still be protected and enhanced.
The way it is written now certainly isn't anything that resembles the much more restrictive zoning plan that our neighbors in Monroe County have passed and imposed on its residents.
Let's hope this issue doesn't just die on the vine from inaction by our local officials, but I have my doubts.
In my humble opinion, the people who want zoning need to do a better selling job to the folks who are in the so-called trenches.
These are the hard-working folks who are trying to earn a living and raise their families. These are the people who want their personal freedoms and rights preserved and not trampled on by what they view is the "government."
County residents have to be convinced that without zoning this county will suffer economic losses.
Looking at the recent successes and growth at the WestGate at Crane Technology Park, that have been accomplished without zoning, I'm not sold on the idea that this county will lag behind if land use management controls are not implemented.
I can tell you few in the crowd at the September meeting had any qualms that Greene County is one of only about 10 counties in the state without some form of land use management.
I've learned that the Plan Commission -- the group that will be charged with making a recommendation on zoning to the county commissioners -- has apparently had trouble fielding a quorum of members for meetings in recent months and that is part of the reason why the zoning topic has been put on the back-burner since the September public meeting.
A simple solution would be to re-organize and get some people who are committed and will attend the required meetings.
The Plan Commission does have some final tweaking to do on the zoning proposal before making a recommendation to the county commissioners.
I do know from talking with District 3 Commissioner-elect Rick Graves that the topic will certainly be addressed during one of the early meetings in January.
You now, District 1 County Commissioner Kermit Holtsclaw may have been on target when he stated a couple months back, "We've talked a lot about land use. Would we actually have to put the name zoning on it? That would help us if we couldn't. I think the people would accept it better."
It's time to put this issue to a up or down vote and let this two-headed zoning monster either sink or swim.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/page...
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