Wednesday, June 20, 2012

County planning is a mockery

Planning and zoning in Blaine County has been a mockery from its adoption. There were thousands of acres zoned Residential and little Light Industrial. County and city officials failed to work together to resolve this imbalance and as a result most of the light-industrial uses had no choice but to operate from their homes. The local officials argued over their zones of impact and never addressed the needs of light-industrial businesses.

Recent decisions by the county commissioners are reckless and a tragedy waiting to happen. Two of our current commissioners, with many years of planning and zoning experience, find it OK to mix light- and heavy-industrial uses with residential uses. They have abandoned the underlying concepts and principles that call for separation and buffer zones of the two types of uses.

A little boy some years back was electrocuted in the Curtis subdivision. This was a well-fenced sub-station; however, the little boy found a way in. Those big brown insulators and wires resemble playground equipment. If heavy construction equipment is allowed to be a part of our residential neighborhoods on a full-time basis, children will wander in and a tragedy will happen.

The competitive advantage given by the commissioners to these zoning violators, over their competitors who operate from the properly zoned property, amounts to large sums of money.

You have to wonder, if our county commissioners are going to allow excavation contractors with heavy equipment to operate from residential zones, just what else they are going to allow in our residential subdivisions. It seems to me as if the door is wide open, and a precedent has been set. What is fair for one is fair for all.

Tom Richmond


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