Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why Ellis County needs a comprehensive plan

From Angie Grant, resident of Ellis County:

The fundamental premise of zoning is that particular land uses are appropriate for certain locations, but not for others. Thus a zoning board designates districts for particular uses: agricultural, commercial, industrial, residential, etc., based on recognition of the simple fact that such uses are very often incompatible with one another. Commercial development brings traffic, industrial development brings pollution, and neither should be allowed to encroach on residential areas where they would reduce the value of people's homes and diminish their quality of life.

The state of Kansas encourages the development of a comprehensive plan by all counties that adopt zoning. A zoning board without a comprehensive plan is like a train without rails to guide it. It quickly becomes a train wreck because it has no clear objectives and no guidelines to follow.

Zoning regulations are merely tools for advancing the comprehensive plan. They are supposedly written with a comprehensive plan in mind. To write zoning regulations without such a plan is to invite the institution of regulations that serve private interests rather than the public good.

This is precisely what has happened in Ellis County.

The purpose of a comprehensive plan is to provide a carefully deliberated vision of the future for the whole community and guidelines for development of all types, not just wind energy. It is a document that guides appropriate land use patterns for the public good. If any public official, appointed or elected, is opposed to the development of a comprehensive plan, this should raise a huge red flag in the minds of all citizens.

These people must either have something to lose from adopting responsible guidelines for community development or they must be hoping to gain something at the expense of the public good.

Vernon Berens and Dennis Pfannenstiel are not just county commissioners. They are also citizens of our community who must live and walk among us.

I call on everyone who cares about the future of Hays and Ellis County to pursue these two men, either on the phone at home or in person at the supermarket, and please ask each one this question:

"Why do you oppose the development of a comprehensive plan?"

Submitted by:
Angie Grant
1189 180th Ave.
Hays, Kansas

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