A Planning & Zoning board, if used properly can strengthen a community and make it a viable place to work and live. Joyce Miller's article, "Article 600 discussion may return," and Paul Ellison's Letters to the Editor, "Article 600 and the P&Z shell game," and "Commissioner's land grab," tell another story.
The UNIVERSAL Land Use Code, also known as the Unified Land Use Code by some in Camden County, is a body of code for regulation purposes, IT IS NOT A LAW! To a county, regulations equal revenues and means power.
The fact that the Paradise and Shady Gators is allowed to operate on land zoned residential (for decades) is a judicial matter and belongs in the court, so says our Missouri Constitution and Missouri Law. There are other issues here and it's possible [lake area developer Gary] Prewitt is on the right side of the law.
Camden County on the other hand, wants to do an end around and usurp the law by writing regulation with daily fines and the possibility of jail time. Article 600 is tabled for now, but the Presiding Commissioner, Kris Franken, expects public input as he's eager to put Article 600 back on the table again. That's why he doesn't want to pursue Paradise and Shady Gators, in order to get the needed complaints to prove the need for the tabled regulation.
He stated, "Article 600 currently carries a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail as penalty for failure to comply with the code... there are no provisions for a hearing before the county commission, and it doesn't provide a structure for fines to match the severity of the violation." Section 605.100 states, “Everyday is a violation and constitutes a separate offense.”
He sounds as if he wants to replace a court hearing with a board hearing and a judge with appointed board members of the P&Z, bypassing due process. He goes on to state that he would like to pursue a draft modification for Article 600, which he intends to present to the district commissioners AFTER the planning commission passes it.
Does anyone see a problem with this? I do!
This is the same Commissioner that “..urged the other commissioners to vote to save money by listing property tax delinquency notices in a less viewed newspaper, ... and was able to get a great deal at the tax delinquency auction – garnering a piece of lakeside property for a cool $5,000,” as noted in the LSL back in July 2011.
This is also the same Commissioner that asked for a show of hands back in November 2011 at a town hall meeting of over 400, as to whether he should pursue a claim to regulate the Lake of the Ozarks shoreline that would fall within the Lakewide Planning District. He would activate the Coordination process, which is recognized at both the State and Federal levels, and he even wrote a draft of the “Coordinated Land Use Plan.”
Page 2 of 3 - Franken was quoted as saying, “...this move will level the playing field between government agencies and force these entities to sit down at the same table together to hash out their differences over regulating structures along the shoreline.”
He went on to describe the “coordination” process as a “very powerful tool,” and I quote, “Any process that can bring a federal agency to the table with equal rights with a local entity is definitely a powerful tool.” So what did Camden County get? The P&Z Commission!
Maybe Mr. Ellison is right and this is a shell game and land grab. With the possibility of unwarranted inspections and heavy fines by a modified Article 600, the Camden County Presiding Commissioner can manufacture a crisis by creating a loss of business, loss of revenues to the county, loss of jobs, he can then declare an area blighted, thus qualifying it as an Enhanced Economic Zone (EEZ).
Declaring property “blighted” lowers the value of the property and all other properties around it. This allows developers to pick up property for a song. Counties all across the country are re-evaluating their use of EEZs. You should look up the Camden County EEZ map, it's ambitious.
An EEZ board can outperform the marketplace in redirecting STATE taxpayer money to selected enterprises. It allows a government to use Mercantilism rather than allowing the principles of capitalism and free enterprise to play out.
It allows a government official to become a king maker. Supporters of the EEZ treat it as a kind of free lunch for city economic development by conferring benefits on selected developers. It involves subsidies and STATE tax credits, which comes from those Missouri citizens who faithfully pay their STATE taxes. In the case of property tax abatements, resources that normally go to local schools or local services are redirected to benefit a particular company or developer. The benefit of these subsidies redirects these resources. A STATE tax credit can be set up like a currency, to be traded, bought or sold to another entity. This is why the “China Hub” at Lambert Airport failed. The St. Louis schools would have lost $500,000. St. Louis has issued so many of these state tax credits, that their schools are suffering financially. That is why they want Common Core, so that the Federal Government can take over and fully support their school systems.
A politician is defined as a government member, somebody seeking personal power, self-advancement, a schemer who manipulates. A statesman is a leader, who is widely respected for integrity and impartial concern for the public good. You choose.
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