Economic Development News

County Zoning Proposal worth strong consideration
Published: Sunday, June 8, 2014
By: Randy Allen, President/CEO

Cole County is in the process of hosting public hearings on the proposed plan to implement a zoning regulation process for the unincorporated areas of the county.

I attended two of the three hearings held so far to hear the presentation and hear the questions and feedback attendees had on the proposal. The county has spent considerable time and resources seeking input from stakeholders and setting out the plan.

Zoning is a tricky balance of individual property rights versus the control of property uses to ensure orderly growth and stability.

The purpose of county zoning regulations as provided in RSMo 64.850 is to:

  • Promote the health, safety, morals, comfort and general welfare
  • Conserve and protect property and building values
  • Secure the most economical use of the land, facilitate the adequate provision of public improvements, and implement the Master Plan for Cole County, Missouri (the County’s comprehensive plan)

 The zoning regulations are designed to provide predictable standards and a streamlined development process that promotes economic development and protects property rights. While these regulations balance the interests of neighborhoods and the county as a whole, it will be the county’s policy to work cooperatively with property owners and developers to ensure that these regulations are predictable and development friendly.

"Zoning is a tricky balance of individual property rights versus the control of property uses to ensure orderly growth and stability.  The usual purpose of zoning is to prevent one landowner from using his land in a way that will harm his neighbors."

The zoning regulations will apply to the unincorporated portion of Cole County since the incorporated areas control these issues within their boundaries under state law. Regulations apply to the construction, use, or occupancy of buildings or structures, and the use or development of land.

The following activities are exempt from the zoning regulations:

  • incorporated portions of Cole County
  • the recovery of natural resources by strip or open-cut mining
  • the raising of crops, livestock, orchards or forestry, nor to seasonal or temporary impoundments used for rice farming or flood irrigation, except within the area shown on the flood hazard area map
  • underground mining where entrance is through an existing shaft or shafts or through a shaft or shafts not within the area shown on the flood hazard area map
  • Non-conforming situations, to the extent provided in Chapter 6

The voters will likely be asked to approve the zoning regulations on the August ballot. A simple majority is required to implement it. If approved, the County Commission will enact an ordinance to initiate the process.

The usual purpose of zoning is to prevent one landowner from using his land in a way that will harm his neighbors. Farmers and other rural property owners need to realize that absence of zoning in rural areas gives them no protection. Instead, it permits their neighborhoods to become a dumping ground for undesirable commercial and industrial activities excluded elsewhere. Several instances of objectionable land uses in the county have been cited in the past several years.

The Chamber is responsible to work to grow the economy of all of Cole County. We understand that zoning regulation is required for business attraction. It is important to potential business to know that if they located in the unincorporated areas of the county, their business will be protected from an objectionable land use adjacent to them. Conversely it is important to protect residential areas from an objectionable business that could affect the value of their investment. Both of these situations restrict orderly growth which limits effective economic development

It appears the County has done their due diligence on this proposal and the Chamber will consider supporting it in the coming weeks.

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