The Barton County Planning Commission will hold three public outreach meetings to allow county residents to ask questions over the proposed revisions in the zoning regulations. The meetings are set for:
• 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Great Bend Recreation Commission office, 1214 Stone.
• 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Ellinwood Public Library, 210 N. Schiller.
• 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Barton County Annex Building at 352 W. 12th in Hoisington.
Full copies of the revisions are available for public viewing at the:
• Barton County Administrator’s Office, Barton County Courthouse.
• Barton County Clerk’s Office, Barton County Courthouse.
• Barton County Annex Building at 352 W. 12th in Hoisington.
• Claflin Public Library, 108 Main Street.
• Ellinwood Public Library, 210 N. Schiller.
• Great Bend Public Library, 1409 Williams.
• Hoisington Public Library, 169 S. Walnut.
• Great Bend Co-op Pawnee Rock Branch, 317 Pawnee Ave.
The public hearing on the changes is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the courthouse.
Barton County contains 900 square miles.
That’s a statistic the nine members of the Barton County Planning Commission know very well. They have spent the past four years in a comprehensive mile-by-mile review of the zoning regulations to clean them up and make them easier to follow.
“This presentation this morning is the wrapping up of four years of work,” Environmental Manager Judy Goreham told Barton County commissioners Monday morning. “We went through every page of the zoning regulations to make sure they are good for us as a county and for people who live in the county.”
This is the first review of the zoning rules in 12 years. At that time, the county hired a consultant from Lawrence to make the study.
Now, with a three-ring binder full of updated regulations summarizing the years of effort and months of feedback from county commissioners, Goreham said they are ready for the public to take a look. They want as much input as possible so the revisions are reflective of current land-use realities.
To this end, Goreham has set up a series of three public outreach meetings at sites across the county starting Thursday, Oct. 25. These will be followed by a public hearing before the County Commission on Dec. 11 and the seeking of final approval on Jan. 28, 2013.
“We want to give the public as many chances as we can to see these,” Goreham said. Complete copies of the revisions will also be available for public viewing at locations around the county.
Some of the proposed changes includes:
• An incorporation of subdivision regulations into the zoning regulations.
• A combining of the single family (R-1) and multi-family (R-M) districts.
• The elimination of the Designed Manufactured Home Community District.
• The addition of a new Planned Community District.
• The removal of “mixed use” from the Light Manufacturing Service Commercial District.
• Limitations on the housing of livestock-type animals in residential areas.
• An incorporation of all the zoning changes since 2010, such as those wind turbines, flood plains and horse racing.
• A revision of zoning maps.
• A correction of any clerical errors.
“This represents a lot of work by a lot of people,” said commissioner Jennifer Schartz. However, she asked Goreham if the changes represented more or less stringent regulations.
No, Goreham said, it means less regulation. “This organizes things in rural areas. It eliminates red tape and makes things easier to manage.”
The focus of the planning commission, according to Goreham, is to plan for the proper growth and development of Barton County through planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. The local laws are contained within the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.