you can lead a horse to water but . . .
July 30th 2008
You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But …..
I am simply amazed at the progress one makes when dealing with government on a regular basis. Many other people besides me have been working with the Union County government system for over 2 years and we do know all of their names now. We know what positions of responsibility they hold. We know that they know we are relentless in our pursuit of getting a good zoning ordinance passed for the county. What we don’t know is why in the hell they won’t listen to us.
The Planning and Zoning has this cockamamie piece of paper called a zoning ordinance. They have open meetings to discuss this, so we go and give our 2 cents worth. We tell them we don’t like parts of the ordinance and ask them to make some changes. They don’t listen and pass it on to the commissioners. The commissioners have a public hearing and we go to the meetings and give our 2 cents worth. We tell the commissioners that there are parts of this ordinance that we don’t like and ask them to make changes. The commissioners don’t listen to what we have to say and pass this ordinance thinking we won’t do anything about it, like refer it to a special election because if we do it will never pass.
These events didn’t just happen folks. It happened over a year ago. So the ordinance goes to a special election and gets defeated. The Commissioners form a task force and tell them to fix it, come back with suggestions for them to consider. They will do one of three things. 1) Accept the changes and pass them on. 2) Accept part of the changes or 3) accept none of the changes.
Well folks, it is now one year later and we are singing the same song only it’s the second verse. We made our input to the Planning and Zoning and they voted to send it on to the commissioners “as is” with one minor change. They are going to suggest…suggest mind you not change… that the county commissioners add one clause to the adult entertainment portion of the ordinance. They are going to suggest the setback from churches, schools, parks, etc. be moved to 3/4th mile, that surrounding neighbors be notified by mail and that the commission look into any additional changes. (Now comes my famous saying!) What a bunch of crap.
It is not the commissioner’s job to write the ordinance. It is the job of planning and zoning. If I were a commissioner and this came across my desk, I would fold it up, hand it back and tell them when they have a completed document to bring it back and they will act on it. The folks at the p&z are too damned lazy to put any work into something like this. All they want to do is act on plats and boundary changes. They don’t want to be responsible for making any decisions.
I’m sure everyone by now has discussed the planning and zoning meeting last week with all the discussion about adult oriented businesses and the verbiage that is in the new law passed by the state legislature. I did some research at the end of the week. I went to the county auditor’s office and asked to see the county ordinances. There is not one law pertaining to public decency or indecency for that matter. In fact the only county ordinance pertaining to anything similar is on sexual predators list.
I am going to the county commissioners meeting tomorrow and suggest the following ideas be incorporated into a county decency ordinance.
1. The county set a decency ordinance setting community standards regarding adult oriented businesses.
2. The county ordinance will be separate from the zoning ordinance. It will be a standalone document.
3. The conditional use permit in the zoning ordinance will be compliant with the county ordinance.
4. The setback on the adult business will be 3/4th mile from homes, churches, playgrounds, schools etc.
5. The ordinance will establish controls for hours of operation
6. The ordinance will set fines for violations and the sheriff will enforce this.
7. This ordinance will be set into motion as soon as possible to immediately give the ordinance full force and effect.
If you have suggestions to add to this, send me an email and I will forward your ideas to the commissioners. We need to have something like this on the books if for no other reason than to set current standards for Union County. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org