In a statement issued last week, former Camden County Planning & Zoning Administrator Don Hathaway addressed several matters over the legality and ethics of Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken, Hathaway and others in the county over P&Z and related topics.
In a statement issued last week, former Camden County Planning & Zoning Administrator Don Hathaway addressed several matters over the legality and ethics of Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken, Hathaway and others in the county over P&Z and related topics. These issues have been raised by a group who have been critical of P&Z and the handling of P&Z by the county. The Lake Sun is investigating both sides of these claims for a series of articles to come.
The first item questions the foundation of planning and zoning itself.
In a March 4 article on a local online blog site, maintained by Paul Ellison who has endorsed Greg Hasty's candidacy for presiding commissioner, the establishment and authority of Camden County P&Z comes under the gun due to a claim that the planning commission is improperly seated.
Ellison's article cites another individual's research that claims P&Z was being "administered in violation of Missouri State Statutes."
"It has been the stance of the county commission, presumably based on legal advice from county attorney Charles McElyea, that Camden County is allowed to administer P&Z as a third class county, despite its classification as a first class county."
The article states that the individual was not able to find any legal basis for McElyea's assertion and also states that the "improper seating of both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustments exposes the tax payers of Camden County to untold liabilities."
The article also says, "State statutes are quite clear. Camden county, once reclassified as a first class county, was required to change the makeup of planning and zoning boards. This was not done. Instead, boards made up of politically appointed technocrats have been seated repeatedly in violation of state law. When questioned about this very basic structure change, county officials have repeatedly claimed that Camden is exempt from the statutes listed above. This false logic and disregard for the rule of law is becoming the norm in Camden County government."
Hathaway's statement on the issue reads, "The statutory establishment and operating statutes for second and third class Counties 64.510 to 64.690, were reviewed with our P&Z Attorney in the first days of my administration [about two and a half years ago] and confirmed as to proper authority. This statutory authority has been brought into question by supporters of [Associate commissioner Cliff] Luber in an attempt to continue to make false and misleading statements regarding P&Z. I have once again confirmed our standing on operational Statutes with the P&Z attorney who has assured me we were established and continue to operate under the 2nd and 3rd Class County Statutes."
While Camden is a first class county, P&Z is operated only within a specified lakefront district that does not include the entirety of the county. State statutes place the operation of this type of district under the same operating procedures as those of planning and zoning for second and third class counties — not first class counties.
The establishing statute for the lakefront district is RSMo (Revised Missouri Statutes) 64.005 which states, "64.005.01. For the purpose of promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the public, the county commission of any county bordering on a lake having at least one hundred ten miles of shoreline may, after approval by a vote of the people of the affected area of the county as determined by the county commission, create a district planning commission to prepare a district plan for the area which is at least one-half mile but not more than five miles from the six hundred forty-five foot mark of the lake measured from either the mean sea level, for the Lake of the Ozarks or the low water mark as determined by the Corps of Engineers for all other lakes of the county bordering on the lake."
RSMo 64.005 then outlines that the county commission may establish the district through an election of the voters of the county within the affected area.
Voters within Camden County's Lake Area P&Z District approved the creation of planning and zoning in 1997. A controversial topic even then, the governing code, master plan and map were not implemented until 2004.
RSMo 65.007 establishes the makeup of the planning commission within these district's as well as the appointment of planning commissioners and the procedures of P&Z.
It states, "64.007. 1. The district planning commission shall consist of the county highway engineer and at least one property owner from each township in the district who resides within the proposed district and who is a registered voter of the county appointed by the county commission. ... 2. Except as provided in this section and section 64.005, the provisions of sections 64.510 to 64.695, relating to the procedures for county planning and zoning in counties of the second and third classifications shall apply to any district planning commission established pursuant to this section and section 64.005."
Camden County currently has 11 planning commissioners — one from each of 10 townships and the county road and bridge director.
According to both sides of the issue, the district is being operated under second and third class county planning and zoning regulations.