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The Lake News Online
  • Letter to the editor: Planning and zoning issues have more than one side

  • I certainly agree that noise issues can and are in some cases a problem. The greater problem is the failure of the county to be able to enforce all Planning and Zoning regulations.
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  • *Editor’s Note: This opinion is in response to multiple news articles and opinions published in the Lake Sun over the past few weeks in regards to the Camden County noise issues.
     
    This is in response to the noise issue comments recently referred to in your paper.
    I certainly agree that noise issues can and are in some cases a problem. The greater problem is the failure of the county to be able to enforce all Planning and Zoning regulations.
    In the two cases that were recently described in the paper, (Lazy Gators and Paradise) both are situations where the business/property owners have just apparently refused to comply with the existing regulations.
    Neither piece of property is properly zoned for outdoor music.
    These owners have decided to just bully their way past the complaints and do as they please.
    Somehow, they have declared themselves special people who are exempt from following the same rules as the rest of us.
    It is my understanding that numerous attempts have been made by the county to rectify both of these situations including warnings and filing complaints and actually going to court at significant expense to the county. Yet the problems still exists.
    In an effort to provide the county with increased ability to enforce compliance with all Planning and Zoning regulations the County Commissioners asked the P&Z board to rewrite ARTICLE 600 ENFORCEMENT AND REVIEW of the Unified Land-use Code.
    The P&Z board established a sub-committee to draft the revisions.
    This effort took several months to complete.
    After completion of the first draft and agreement of the full board, a public hearing was held to receive feedback from the general population.
    This feedback was then incorporated into a second draft and another public hearing was held with subsequent input again included in the next draft.
    The revised Article 600 provided for a detailed process that would facilitate the county’s ability to follow up on complaints, increase fines and provide the property owner with the ability to have more opportunity to have their position reviewed.
    This draft was then approved by the board, received legal approval from the county attorney and the Board agreed to send it to the County Commission for review. They chose to table the revised Article 600.
    At these public meetings, there were a number of people who attended and approximately ten to twelve who spoke repeatedly in opposition to the changes.
    These people who I refer to as “the group” are the same people who seem to appear at other public meetings.
    Page 2 of 2 - They seem to be adversarial, negative and to my knowledge have never offered a single positive alternative to any change they oppose.
    Several vocal members of “the group” do not live in the planning and zoning district and at least one of them states she does not even live in Camden County.
    These people and their property are not in any way impacted by anything planning and zoning does.
    Their tactics are to attempt to hide behind the United States Constitution, the flag and never confuse the issue with facts.
    I have heard them give speeches on the founding fathers, the 4th Amendment, the EPA, OSHA, etc.
    While all of these are noble subjects, it is a stretch to see how they directly impact Camden County Planning and Zoning.
    They make claims that have been proven false, post unsigned negative and untrue comments on the internet and in general offer no positive comments whatsoever.
    While “the group” likes to hide behind a person’s property rights, they fail to see that people other then themselves also have property rights.
    For every complaint that is received by the county, there are two sides to each one, not just the rights of “the group.”
    What was lacking at the public hearings was citizens who would support the proposed changes and ensure Camden County moves forward and does not revert back to the 1950s and 1960s as “the group” seems to prefer.
    As a result of this lack of public support, Commissioner Luber read a prepared statement prior to the Commission vote stating something to the effect that the citizens of Camden County have spoken and the Commission voted 2 to 0 and tabled the revised Article 600.
    What Commissioner Luber did was support only “the group” and not all of the citizens of Camden County as his oath specifies. Commissioner Thomas voted to table this issue after voting yes to have Article 600 revised.
    Commissioner Franken did not vote.
    If each of you personally wants to ensure your property rights are protected and your property values are not diminished because some people and “the group” want to do anything they choose to their property you should do two things; email, write or telephone your county commissioner today and express your concerns and ask that the revised Article 600 be taken off the table and put in place, and secondly make certain you attend the next public hearing and voice your support.
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