Three years after beginning a major overhaul of the Camden County Unified Land Use Code (ULUC), it is apparently ready for public review before possible implementation.

UPDATE: The public hearing on the proposed revisions was cancelled on the afternoon of July 24 due to lack of a quorum. The meeting has been postponed until further notice.

Editor's note:  This story has been edited to take out the legal cost for the revisions as we believe $100,000 — based on two payments of $50,000 — was incorrect. We do believe the fee was covered in two payments, but the actual amount of those payments is still in question, and we are working to verify the true amount. We do apologize for any confusion this may have caused. 

Three years after beginning a major overhaul of the Camden County Unified Land Use Code (ULUC), it is apparently ready for public review before possible implementation.

No information is available at this time on the specifics of what could be changed, but the Lake Sun has filed a Sunshine Law request for a copy of the proposed revisions ahead of the July 24, 2018 hearing. According to a legal notice, the public review session is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in the third floor conference room of the administrative courthouse in Camdenton.

It is unclear how or when the Camden County Commission accepted the revisions and set a hearing date as the Lake Sun has been unable to find any agenda in months in which P&Z code revisions were a topic for discussion. A Sunshine request for the agenda and minutes from the meeting have been filed after the Lake Sun became aware of the June 29 legal notice on Monday.

The commission did hold an open session meeting on June 28, but the agenda, posted via email to multiple parties in addition to the Lake Sun, did not include anything related to planning and zoning, only a road and bridge grant application, GIS, Macks Creek memorandum and tax abatements. However, when the Lake Sun visited the commission office on June 28, the outer door of the commission’s office was locked. Associate Commissioner Don Williams could be seen inside Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty’s inner office.

A commission meeting noticed for June 29 only included a road and bridge grant on the agenda.

On Monday after learning of the hearing, the Lake Sun emailed Hasty and the commission’s Sunshine Law attorney Matt Growcock seeking information, but have yet to hear back from either.

The revision of the code regulating the county’s Lake Area P&Z District is a major point in Hasty’s current campaign for re-election with certain ads stating that he has fulfilled his 2014 election promise to fix the code, despite the fact that the revisions have yet to be approved and that the citizenry has yet to see the code and weigh in on whether they believe it is truly fixed or not.

Since voter approval in the late 1990s and implementation in 2004, the Camden County Lake Area P&Z District has been a center of controversy from map errors to lakefront entertainment venues amidst residential housing as well as enforcement issues and even lack of clear definitions for basic terms.

Former P&Z director Kim Willey first approached the planning commission for ideas in June 2015, around six months after Hasty took office.

Hasty ran on a platform to revise the code en masse while former presiding commissioner Kris Franken had promised a piecemeal approach.

Public hearings that took comments from citizens and industry professionals offered a mixed bag on more philosophical aspects of the code, including noise complaints and fair but effective enforcement.

It has also been unclear how some code revisions could be effected in relation to the legal necessity of basing them in the comprehensive master plan, which has also been criticized for not offering the right plans for the direction Camden County wants to take. With residents and businesses often at odds, however, the vision for its future still seems unclear.