To The Editor:
Thank you, Missourian editorial staff, for your insightful series of opinion pieces both in advance of and after the Franklin County Commission voted on the zoning code changes last week.
As was repeatedly noted, the changes proposed by the county give up local control and oversight of over 42 different land uses. These are now “permitted uses” in much of the county, meaning that no local authority, or citizens, can demand limitations on how projects are built and operated.
Imagine the noise, traffic, lights, and even smells and pollution from a manufacturing plant, coal ash landfill, fireworks stand, repair shop, industrial animal operation (CAFO), or even a hospital with a helicopter landing pad now allowed next to your home or community. Now imagine the taxpayer cost in infrastructure to support these land uses now allowed almost anywhere.
It seems a committee should have been formed to gather citizen and expert input — out in the open, where citizens could observe the process. Instead a few people put together the plan, our representatives on the planning and zoning committee rejected the plan, yet the commissioners pushed forward and unanimously adopted the changes.
The commission’s decision to allow large-scale development while giving up local authority to decide where and how these ventures operate, begs one to ask — who benefits? It certainly wasn’t the citizens who attended hearings or the county at large which stands to lose property values.
So, now what? The commission has voted, and it is law. We have more power than most people think. There is a mechanism in place where we can propose the changes we want ourselves, we can also elect new people, and/or we do what the paper suggested and explore putting the changes they have made to a vote of the people. Unfortunately, nothing is a quick fix.