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Jim’s Political Notebook: Planning, zoning explained during the election season

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 — It happens like clockwork every four years — when local candidates throw their hats into the ring to run for local office.

And with each election cycle, the topic of planning and zoning comes up. And each election brings a wheelbarrel full of criticism, with calls from candidates to “simplify” the rules, make the planning process “more business friendly,” or give property owners the right to do what they wish with their own property, zoning be damned.

Planning and zoning — and the planning commission — often get dragged through the gauntlet of public criticism and candidate disdain with each election. Ironically, its the elected officials who approve the regulations that planning and zoning enforce — and everyone wants to complain about.

So why does Nelson County have countywide planning and zoning? What’s its purpose? Does land use planning really matter? Who gave the planning commissionm the right to tell me what to do with my property?

Starting this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the Fiscal Court meeting room, these questions and more will be covered in the first of a six-part series of lunchtime presentations that cover the details of how Nelson County’s planning and zoning office operates.

If you are a candidate for office — city of county — you owe it to yourself to attend these weekly sessions. It doesn’t matter if you’ve served one term or 10 terms in office, I guarantee you will come away with something new.

And you’ll have a chance to ask questions as part of each session, which will be led by Planning Director Jan Johnston-Crowe.

The informational series is aimed at candidates in order to help them understand the office and its role in land use and planning across the county. If you win election (or re-election) in November, it will be information you’ll need. It’ll help you be a better, more informed public servant.

Here’s the list of upcoming topics.

Sessions are 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please RSVP to Janet Johnston-Crowe, jccpcofnelsoncounty@gmail.com so they have enough handouts

  • Aug. 24, 2022 – Part 1: Authority & Administration
  • Aug. 31, 2022 – Part 2: Comprehensive Plan
  • Sept.r 7, 2022 – Part 3: Zoning & Subdivision Regulations
  • Sept.r 14, 2022 – Part 4: Design Standards & Floodplain
  • Sept. 21, 2022 – Part 5: Permitting & Enforcement
  • Sept. 28, 2022 – Conclusion & Catch-All Session

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