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The Lake News Online
  • Letter gets sent to P&Z

  • In the midst of a clash between two county commissioners over signatures on a letter, a request to eliminate costly fees for landowners whose property was improperly zoned years ago was approved for submission to the Camden County Planning and Zoning Board.
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  • In the midst of a clash between two county commissioners over signatures on a letter, a request to eliminate costly fees for landowners whose property was improperly zoned years ago was approved for submission to the Camden County Planning and Zoning Board.
    The letter details the Camden County Commission’s position that landowners should not have to pay fees associated with rezoning for mistakes that were made in 2004 when some parcels may have been improperly zoned.
    The letter was on the agenda for action by the county commission on Thursday, March 27. Although the discussion did get sidetracked over a disagreement about the signatures listed on the letter, commissioners voted to send it on to the board.  
    "These property owners do not need to pay for a mistake, an innocent mistake but a mistake none the less that the county made," said Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber.
    Luber presented the letter, written to the members of planning and zoning, during the county commission meeting for consideration. According to Luber, he drafted the letter with the intent to submit it to the planning and zoning board after bringing it to the full commission.
    The disagreement over the signatures on the letter came up when Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken noticed that Luber had drafted the letter without his input or signature.
     "As usual you brought this forward with no solution. Unfortunately policy is required to move those types of items forward. Only now that our former planning and zoning administrator had brought forth some substantial ideas for a foundation for a policy have you decided to come forward with a policy," Franken said. "You also have not addressed why you have chosen to exclude me from the policy that I have voiced my support for that in a previous Camden county meeting."
    Luber responded saying Franken sends out numerous documents without Luber or Thomas's signature on them. He also said he had been talking about the zoning issue since he began his tenure as a county commissioner.
    Luber said the reason he moved forward with a letter to the board was due to two landowners who have their land up for rezoning which was zoned incorrectly in 2004.
    "You as the Presiding Commissioner and while this has been brought to your attention since March of last year, either you or the planning and zoning administrator I would have hoped would have taken the initiative back then," Luber said to Franken.
    "You don't get to throw that back on me, Cliff," Franken replied.
    After the pair went back and forth arguing in front of three sheriff department personnel and a county clerk's official, Thomas made the statement that Franken's signature should be added in order for the letter to move forward.  
    Page 2 of 2 - "All I am interested in doing is recommending the planning and zoning commission to look at this and see if they would be willing to rewrite this small portion to fit what we think is proper," Thomas said.
    The letter states, "the County Commission is seeing an increase in land owners who are realizing their properties were incorrectly zoned and as such, are wishing to have them zoned as to what the current existing use was at the implementation of the Land Use Code."
    The letter goes on to say that the commission suggests that the properties are rezoned and be exempt from any re-zoning fees.
    Following the meeting, Franken's signature was added.
    The letter now will be sent to the Planning and Zoning board for discussion.
    Background info:
    At the February meeting of the planning commission, P&Z staff suggested a proposal to revise the code to eliminate rezoning application fees for landowners in cases that were zoned incorrectly in 2004.
    P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway recommended the county pay for rezoning cases where it was obviously established in error.
    Grandfathered uses can cause problems for the sale of such properties.
    If it is no fault of the property owner, he suggested the county introduce the case and cover the expenses. The property would still have to go through the rezoning process with public hearings due to state statute.
    Expenses for rezoning cases can include legal posting, legal notice publication and mailing notifications to nearby property owners.

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