County GOP opposes planning and zoning
Sunday, December 01, 2013 9:00 PM
During its regular meeting on Sept. 17, the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee adopted a resolution officially stating that it considers the idea of government-controlled land-use management inconsistent with the principles of personal liberty, individual property rights and that it is a bureaucratic barrier to efficient job creation. It opposes the use of taxpayer money to fund the creation of a county government comprehensive land-use plan, and opposes the implementation of a county-wide land-use zoning ordinance in Montgomery County.
Where we do have planning and zoning we see economic development hurt more than helped. The city of Crawfordsville spent millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money to construct the Commerce Park, and then zoned it specifically to attract new business. No businesses came. When a potential new business wanted to fix up and move into an old run down building on West Market Street, the city government told them they couldn't. When TKC Properties wanted to put a new business on the corner of 150 S and Hwy 231, the city council stood in the way for months. One city councilmember even asked at the time, "Why are we micro-managing this?"
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and local government voted to re-zone an agricultural area as "industrial" right next to the Pleasant Meadows residential area (despite the overwhelming protest from residents there). MCED's argument was that a prospective business won't wait for the city to go through the process to rezone a property to "industrial" and will simply ignore Crawfordsville.
Maybe the city government shouldn't be trying to tell businesses where they can and can't set up shop. After all, it worked pretty well when Nucor was left alone to pick their own location to set up shop. The same is true for RR Donnelley when it came to Crawfordsville in 1921. Today they stand as two of our county's biggest employers.
Planning and zoning has also failed to protect residents. Planning and Zoning advocates claimed a victory when the Board of Zoning Appeals ran off an alleged adult entertainment business attempted to set up shop on Hwy 32 E (just inside of the two-mile limit). But after digging into the facts it was discovered that the city's zoning ordinance actually allows an adult entertainment business to exist at that location.
The obvious reality of planning and zoning (and its largest flaw) is that it is just another small body of insulated, out-of-touch people making decisions that adversely affect the community at large - operating against the will of the majority - bureaucracy at its most basic level. The city's planning and zoning ordinance is doing more to systematically violate our property rights than to protect residents or promote economic development.
As the GOP Platform states, true Republicans are committed personal liberty and freedom from intrusive government interference and regulation. The personal liberty and freedom of each individual is paramount. We are also committed to creating an environment where jobs and our economy can grow. The proper role of government in this equation is to get out of the way and let entrepreneurs and job creators build, grow, and expand their private enterprises in our community.