In a move that may have surprised some, the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to send proposed changes to the rules and regulations to the county commission without any discussion.
The decision of the planning commission was unanimous. Planning and Zoning Director Don Hathaway declined to discuss the planning commission's decision.
Along with the proposed changes, the planning commission will include public comments gathered during a hearing held in February on to the county commision. The hearing drew a standing room only crowd with a significant number of those in attendance speaking out against the proposed changes.
What happens next will be up to the Camden County Commission. The county commission can either approve as submitted or could make any changes that they see fit.
The planning commission did not discuss the code changes during their meeting on Wednesday, March 20 prior to taking a vote. If, in the end, the county commission decides to make changes, it is likely another public hearing will be held.
Many of those who attended the February hearing showed up for the most recent meeting, hoping to hear the commission's discussion.
The decision to vote without any further discusssion did not sit well with those opposed to the changes. They say the changes give the planning and zoning department too much control within the district that surrounds Lake of the Ozarks.
Nancy Steward, an advocate for private landowner rights, was disappointed with the planning commission's decision.
It is the changes to Article 600 that are raising red flags with those who oppose the changes. The changes address how notices of violations are handled and fines for violators. The codes also state that every day that a violation continues is considered a separate offense leading residents to believe they would have to pay a fine per day if not in compliance with the code. A provision that could have landed violators in jail for violating the rules and regulations was removed prior to the February meeting.
The opposition says the changes are ambiguous and vague, leave too much open for interpretation and gave planning and zoning too much authority. Concerns were also raised about the $500 fines and the burden that could place on some landowners. It is important to note that before the corrections, the code included a $1,000 fine.
Camden County Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber said it was "a clear decision against the people in Camden County."
Luber said he felt the planning commission has their own agenda in regard to planning and zoning.
The code changes could go before the county commission as early as next month.