August 15, 2006

All Residential Zoning in County Now Requires 1800 sq.ft. Houses

During the last BOC meeting on August 7, 2006, a controversial zoning ordinance was on the agenda. Most people attending the meeting seemed to think it only affected Turtle Cove as 3 board members, including the President, as well as other Turtle Cove residents attended the meeting. Those against the ordinance also referred to Turtle Cove. However, any residentially zoned parcel in the County must now abide by the 1800 sq.ft. requirement for houses.

Rick Abbott was first to speak. He was opposed to the elimination of the “lot of record clause.” He felt this was just to keep minorities from living in Turtle Cove, which brought a few groans and comments (but NO gavel from Comm. Bernard). Mr. Abbott stated that Comm. Bernard and Comm. Johnson should not vote on the ordinance because of conflicts of interest—both lived in Turtle Cove and Comm. Bernard’s wife was on the Turtle Cove board and Comm. Johnson worked for the TC Board up until a couple of weeks ago.

Brian Dempsey, lawyer for Mr. Abbott spoke next. He stated the text amendment made the houses go from 1000sq ft to 1800 sq ft. He had Constitutional objections. He asked, “ Who is behind this amendment?” He asked for the application that requested this amendment through open records, but he found that no such application existed. He also asked for meeting minutes through Open Records and found nothing in any P&Z minutes or BOC minutes where this idea had ever been discussed. He stated, “There is not a valid application.” He further reiterated that this would be an unconstitutional taking of property and would render septic systems unfeasible on these properties. He finished with, “If people can’t build on vacant lots they become worthless to the owners.”

Later in the meeting the ordinance (text amendment) then came up for a vote. There had been no discussion and Comm. Bernard asked for a vote. Comm. Hill asked the County Attorney to give some background information. Comm. Bernard cut him off and said it was discussed in Exec Session and would not have to be discussed again. Comm. Pennamon said, “This will bring more stress to BOC.” He talked about conflicts of interest. Comm. Hill again asked for clarification and just to go over basic points. Comm. Bernard again stated this was all discussed in executive session and would not be discussed in public. The County Attorney said there was no conflict of interest because this is county wide, not just for Turtle Cove. Vote 3-2.

This new requirement went into effect for all applications made after the 8/7/06 meeting.

The Monticello News also reported this part of the BOC meeting.

The Monticello News

Commission Approves Text Amendment
Kathy Mudd 10.AUG.06


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