ALERT: Spot Zoning on Unincorporated Land Proposed to P&Z

ALERT: Spot Zoning on Unincorporated Land Proposed to P&Z

The Orascom fertilizer plant’s efforts to quickly rally a zoning variance that individual farmers and land owners have been denied, focused unusual pressure on the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2013.   After the controversial project went to Lee County, the idea of such a “mega-site” continues to have legs with boosters both internal and external of county government.

July 16, 2013 – These Planning and Zoning Meeting Minutes contain much insight into what staff, supervisors and P&Z commissioners agree and disagree on. The meeting included exiting board chair Larry Minard’s proposing “certified sites” provided for by an update to the county’s comprehensive plan.

Excerpts of this full document are posted below.
The full minutes are available here: ScottCounty_20130716_PZ_Minutes

Minard introduced the idea of certified sites, whereby a region pre-selects a site for large-scale development. He suggested perhaps the updates to the Comprehensive Plan could reflect this concept.

Paustian asked for clarification of the concept of certified sites.
Minard asked the County Administrator, Dee Bruemmer, for clarification.

Ms. Bruemmer stated that the certified sites program is still in progress and is not fully developed. In short, the program would involve regional cooperation whereby municipalities would agree on revenue sharing and site selection in anticipation of future large-scale development projects. The idea being that when a development is proposed, the region is better equipped to responsively handle the request. Ms. Bruemmer stated that the Board is more interested in updating Scott County policies to better handle future industrial and manufacturing development proposals than they are about incorporating certified sites language into County policies. She explained that even once the concept is fully developed, they may only be one or two sites chosen in an entire region. The Board would like to see the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s role in approval of industrial and manufacturing land use decisions reevaluated. She concluded by stating that the Planning Commission should not view this process as having a pre-defined goal or end product. Rather the process should be open and transparent.

Paustian asked who would own the certified sites. Minard responded that the Board is still working on this idea. Dee Bruemmer stated that private developers would submit potential sites. The County or other entities would not own any sites.

She (Dee) stated that the main goal for the County is to re-write the Comprehensive Plan so preservation and development may both occur. She also noted that reevaluating the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s role in the approval of industrial and manufacturing rezoning requests is a goal of the Board.

She reiterated that it is important for the Planning Commission to go about this process without preconceived notions of final outcomes, and to make a clear path without jeopardizing preservation.

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