From: Joan Schnabel
The Buffalo County zoning committee meeting of Aug 27 contained an item, added the day before the meeting, referring to dropping county wide zoning and letting the towns be responsible for zoning, all zoning. Tom Taylor, the chair, read a letter he wanted to send to all the town chairmen, asking their input on this, ie would their town prefer to have its own zoning? Mr Taylor is doing this, he says, so there will be more public input, never appreciating the irony that he is not allowing the public in front of him to speak. (We each got 60 seconds.) Furthermore there is no direction to the towns on how to solicit public opinion from their residents on this question. So the very significant zoning change could be decided by very few people. This could go either way for the frac sand issue. But where it really hurts is that it no longer allows for the consideration of cumulative effects in the county.
If as it seemed last night, the real issue is that Mr. Taylor and his colleagues, with the notable exception of Jim Ziegeweid, are feeling frustrated and unappreciated, I would ask the following questions.
1) Under the new zoning ordinance the zoning committee now reviews all mine applications and offers a deny/approve recommendation to the board of adjustment. If you are feeling so overwhelmed by the work and the citizen input, why on earth did you insinuate yourselves as a committee into the application process? Surely you knew that was going to be more work and time for you and was going to involve a lot more contact with the pesky citizens. The application could have gone directly from the towns to the BOA.
2) if you are so unhappy on the committee, instead of trying to change zoning for the whole county, why donít you just resign from the committee and let one of the other county board members serve on it for awhile?
3) Why is it not a legitimate question to ask why the county has gone through so many zoning techs? Are we underpaying them? Are most of them more interested in working for DNR or Conservation of Forestry and only do zoning until they can get a job in their preferred field?
Are we a bad place to work for?
4) Did you ever consider that part of the reason things take so much of your time is that members come to meetings unprepared. Sometimes this seems due to the members lack of study on the issues, and sometimes it seems that the office or the chairman provides them with the material with only a very short time for them to review it prior to the meeting. Most recent case in point the item to change from countywide zoning added to the agenda 24 hours before the meeting.
That supervisors put in a tremendous amount of time on the county board, much of it unappreciated, and unseen, is certainly true. And we owe them thanks for being willing to serve. But we do not owe them implicit approval and accolades for everything they do. If we have supervisors who are so unhappy with citizen participation and wish to go back to the good old days when no one showed up, they need to know that those days are over.