From: Craig Brooks
At 9:07 a.m. Monday August 26, 2013, Buffalo County sent out a notice for a Land Resource/Zoning Committee meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday August 27, 2013. This e-mail with the agenda was sent to the newspaper contacts and the local City Clerks for posting. Townships did not get this notice but in other counties it is sent out to them by the Committee Chair. A few of us saw the email but very few citizens even knew the meeting was taking place. Item number 9 on the agenda was “Ordinance to Eliminate County Wide Zoning.” Nothing else was included to tell anyone what this meant. In fact, not even the Committee members knew until a proposed letter was handed out at the meeting. Members of the public are only allowed to comment on the agenda of a Committee meeting for one minute each at the beginning of the meeting. No one present, including the staff and three of the four committee members, had any idea what item #9 was about. Therefore, the public obviously could not comment on the unknown. Then, even though the comment was made during discussion of this topic that public input was wanted, a request to open the discussion up to the public was denied. By the way, the public input sought by the author of the proposal is not from the general public but only from the Township Boards. Zoning relates to many, many things concerning sanitation, buildings and land use. The only new thing recently on the county’s zoning plate is industrial frac sand mining. The proposed Ordinance to eliminate county wide zoning relates to all such functions even though the three committee members who voted for the motion to support the recommended solicitation of opinions only had concerns related to being bothered too much by citizens who continue to express concerns about health, safety, property values and general community well being regarding frac sand mining. Much unlimited time is given at County meetings for mining companies to pitch their stories. Citizens are limited to one or two minutes. Supporters of frac sand mining inevitably are those who will make money. Those asking for protections are never in it for the money. Zoning is not about making money at others expense. It is about protecting the health, welfare, safety and well being of the citizens. Three of our County Board members are raising this major issue and ten of the County Board members don’t even know they’re doing this. These three try to belittle citizen concerns by saying it is only a handful of people. Some even say that a gravel pit is the same as industrial frac sand mining. Several hundred local residents have come out over the last two plus years with concerns about frac sand mining. That is not a small number and we need to keep in mind that the vast majority of mine proposals and testimony have come from people who do not live here — many from as far away as Texas. And, to compare a gravel pit to huge frac sand mining operations that run 24/7 is like comparing a small store in a town of 400 to the Walmart corporation — No comparison.
Please conact your County Supervisor and your Town Board members asking them to support continuation of county wide zoning. To do otherwise will be chaos and be very expensive for taxpayers to replicate in so many little towns that do not have the capacity to perform this function.