(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles on proposed changes to county zoning regulations currently being discussed.)
Environmental Manager Judy Goreham and other county officials will be working with rural residents in the near future to detail changes that are being planned in the county zoning regulations, but in that process, Goreham stressed that the changes are intended to make it easier for rural residents to manage businesses and residences — not more difficult.
That is why Goreham is planning discussion sessions with the Barton County Commission and with county taxpayers who will be impacted by any changes.
She explained that the county regulations involve seven different land use districts and the county needs to “start ironing out any issues we have” with those land uses in light of the zoning regulations.
She urged the review process is being set up to facilitate the needs of rural property owners. “It’s all for the good,” she commented.
The important thing is for the county officials to be open to work with landowners, developers, farmers, business owners and to be committed to the appropriate development of the county’s rural areas. “You’re not telling people, ‘You can’t do it. Period. End of story. Go away.’”
She stressed the zoning is being intended to facilitate growth, and that is why there will be so much discussion before any changes are formalized.
Goreham met with the commission this week and she will be announcing special informational meetings at various locations around the county later. She stressed it is important that the meetings be convenient for the rural areas because those are most likely to be impacted by any changes the county makes. There have been a number of zoning issues raised over the past few years, Goreham told the commissioners.
Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg agreed that there have been zoning problems and he questioned whether any changes being discussed with solve the problems or not. “We’ve got these degenerative messes around,” he said, adding that it seems there is a lack of enforcement. He asked Goreham if those problem issues would be better enforced through these changes.
Goreham explained that zoning discusses how land is used. These problems Kruckenberg raised are part of the county’s nuisance code, and complaints in that code have to be handled on a complaint basis.