Now that SOME of the dust has settled around the Paradise Restaurant fiasco with the approval of their requested CUP, we think some observations and opinions are appropriate:
First of all, the County Commissioners have made a complete mockery of any semblance of good county government by appointing the current P&Z personnel to rubber stamp their demands in this "case." All concerned residents involved with this issue were worried that it was just a matter of "when, not if" P&Z would approve the CUP.
The P&Z board members put on a good show with the hearings for the CUP request. Some even asked real questions and one member even challenged the owner on his true original intentions. But it was all for show and for the tape recording, because the same people voted for the approval of the CUP request. What ever happened to the pride of Civic Duty? These folks absolutely have none!
We and several other residents have been to all of the P&Z CUP hearings. They seemed mostly staged regarding the Paradise issue. In fact, at one meeting, only eight members were present which resulted in a split vote and then automatically became a rejection. This provided more time for the restaurant's attorney to come up with something to convince all or most of the members to vote "yes."
We have been at the lake since 1998 at the 28 mm and now have a home at the 24 mm since 2006. We know of some past residents of this area since 1999 to date and none of us have ever heard or witnessed any live music at Paradise Restaurant and have been at the lake most weekends since 2006. But somehow, magically, the attorney for Paradise produced a letter from the previous owner stating he provided live music to support Paradise Restaurant's position for "grandfathering." Even if this letter is authentic, which we seriously doubt, it shouldn't be honored because the current owner has completely changed the footprint of the building.
One thing that still dumbfounds us is how the P&Z board members, with a straight face, can reward the current owner of the restaurant with a CUP, when he has blatantly disregarded the county's lawful zoning regulations for over THREE years. We don't know if that is some misguided confidence or just dumb arrogance. Whatever kind of "conditions" are in the permit, we have no confidence they will be met or ever enforced.
It is obvious to many of us that there were a few "closed door" meetings to help stage this outcome. There were even "talking points" given to a guest on a local radio talk show last week noting how well the P&Z Committee handled this case and negotiated some items with the Restaurant, such as hours of operation. Nothing could be further from the truth!! The owner stated his hours of operation and the P&Z Committee agreed without any input! This radio guest was never at any of these hearings and was only speaking what he was told to say to help the PR on this embarrassing issue for the county. It's also very obvious to the residents around the Paradise Restaurant that we don't count. Someone can come in, change our lives and we have basically no recourse. Sad, very sad! With the current county administration, the only thing important is how much money you have. We guess the only hope we have is to try to recall these Commissioners or replace them in the next election.
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