Wrong route to right call
August 14, 2013
Last month I wrote a guest opinion expressing my disappointment with the county commissioners for granting a re-hearing for a zoning map amendment, because the request did not meet the requirements for such a re-hearing. I stand by that opinion, and am still flabbergasted by the board's decision. Every one of the commissioners gave clear reasons why the request did not meet the requirements for a rehearing, yet, in the end, they voted unanimously to approve it. I remain baffled and disheartened by that decision.
In the July rehearing, the request for a zoning map amendment, which had been denied 3-2 in May, was approved 4-1, with commissioners McDermid and Penzel changing their votes without giving any viable explanation as to why they were doing so.
But that wasn't the final vote on the zoning map amendment, because such amendments require two readings. The final decision came at the board meeting last week. Thankfully, the request again failed 3-2, as it had in May. I commend commissioners McDermid and Penzel for showing the willingness to re-examine their decision, and to again join commissioner Bonner in recognizing the applicant's failure to meet the required findings. In the end the commissioners voted to uphold the master plan.
The board also ended up with the exact same decision as they had in May, but wasted the time of the board, staff and the public in three additional meetings because they approved a rehearing, which should never have been granted. This was not the most crucial issue to ever face the board, but it is always important to follow the letter and intent of both the county code and the master plan.