Planning Commission discusses public notice
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan County Planning Commissioners discussed how Joseph’s Coat turned into “a hornet’s nest” at their recent work session.
At the Commission’s November meeting they voted to allow secondhand thrift stores in the Professional / Limited Commercial Zoning District (P2).
Berry Rainwater, President of Joseph’s Coat, spoke in support of his request. No one spoke against his request at that meeting.
The recent meeting of the Madison City Council was another situation. Three people spoke in opposition to Rainwater’s request.
Commissioner John McMahon wondered if those who spoke out against the rezoning at the city council meeting were even aware that the Planning Commission was looking at it.
“It seems like people could have come before us,” he said.
County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell said that it is the public’s responsibility to be informed. He noted that they advertise text amendments and other zoning actions per Zoning and Planning Office requirements.
McMahon shared his dissatisfaction with that.
“Legally it meets the task but how many people see it?” he asked.
Earlier in the meeting McMahon asked about posting signs at properties affected by zoning amendments.
City Planner Bryce Jaeck said he would have to post a sign at every property in a particular zone, not just the property of a particular applicant.
Commissioner Joe Cardwell said he understood that it would be “totally impractical to post every property.”
Jaeck pointed out another concern: offering fair and impartial hearings. He said if someone says they were not informed about or did not see a posted sign about a proposed change, it could offer an unintended loophole.
“At what point do we open ourselves up to legal risk?” he asked.
Printed in the December 27, 2012 edition