From: Jane Cowgill
We seem to be living in an age where small cadres of ideologues can overlook the general welfare of citizens in order to promote their own personal and political agendas. In Washington, of course, we see such a group who, unable to get their way through the available legislative, judicial and electoral processes, are willing to shut down the government thereby causing harm to millions of hardworking citizens.
Here in Winona we have a movement led by Steve Jacob, a Winona County Commissioner, who having won his district by only 87 votes, now claims a mandate to weaken some of the rules in the 2010 zoning ordinances. These rules were put in place in order to protect our bluff lands from erosion, to preserve the security of Indian burial grounds, to ensure that the beauty of our area is not compromised by over- building on the bluffs, and to protect citizens from neighbors who might like to expand their buildings and operations without having to obtain a CUP or even to inform their next door neighbors. For example, a farmer could extend a feed lot to within 700 feet of a neighbor’s property without any review by anyone.
Others have pointed out here and at public meetings that Mr. Jacob could potentially benefit from these changes. Further, Mr. Jacob has in the past seemed to ally himself with people who suggest that “property rights” should mean that an owner should be able to do as he likes on his own property, regardless of how his actions might affect the community. This is a bankrupt idea, especially when we now know how interconnected environmental realities are.
Regardless of what Mr. Jacob’s motives may be for making these proposals, they will be considered by the County Board at a public hearing on Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the County Government Center. Please come and let the commissioners know that you want the bluffs to be protected and that you expect them to govern for all the citizens of the county, not just for the convenience of a few.