Board rejects draft of ordinance rescinding zoning
A rough draft of an ordinance to rescind the Washington County Zoning Ordinance provided by county attorney Larry Brock Thursday was rejected Tuesday morning during the regular Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Supervisors Jack Seward Jr., Bob Yoder and Stan Stoops all indicated that the draft of the ordinance was unacceptable, citing currently pending issues that were brought about as a result of the zoning laws that would still be in force after zoning is rescinded, according to the draft ordinance. During discussion, Stoops made the motion for the board to seek new counsel in drafting the ordinance. The motion was voted down and Seward asked that the issue of “alternatives” to the draft be discussed during the board’s July 2 meeting.
During discussion, Seward referred to an ordinance that the supervisors had waived as a setback. He asked if this could be done in cases of certain pending zoning violations, specifically a case in which Bob Luke was ordered to put up a fence. Brock said a judge had already ruled on Luke’s case and the supervisors didn’t have the authority to waive the court order. Seward also asked if Brock could simply not enforce the code.
“I could, but I won’t,” Brock said. “I choose to uphold the law. I could choose not to file any criminal action, but that would not be upholding my duties as a prosecutor. My duties are to make sure the law is being enforced and to make sure people are abiding by the laws.”
Stoops said that Brock was contradicting himself and asked Brock how “have you been enforcing the law?”
“Your record for prosecution — it’s poor, to say the least,” Stoops said.
After discussion of a few cases Brock had been involved with, Seward declared the draft was unacceptable. Stoops asked why the draft included information gathered at planning and zoning meetings. Brock said it was to make official the information the supervisors were given that was used to make the decision. Seward asked why more wasn’t included about why the board chose to proceed. Brock said that if the supervisors wished to provide those items, they could be included. He said if the supervisors wanted to draft a different ordinance, they could.
“Can we get legal counsel to do that?” Stoops asked.
“You cannot,” Brock said.
“I think we can; I’m finding out quite differently,” Stoops said.
Brock said the next step would be for the supervisors to hold a public hearing on the ordinance. Stoops asked about having a public hearing July 2. Seward said that the supervisors needed a working draft before calling a public hearing.
Seward asked if other counsel could be used if it didn’t cost the county money. He said that Free County might pay for counsel to draft the ordinance. He also said that the discussion wouldn’t take place during a supervisors meeting and that he could just speak with the attorney.
“I can talk to anybody I want to talk to about how to do it, and I can draw up an ordinance and present it to the board,” Seward said.
The board also discussed the need to prepare another floodplain ordinance. The existing ordinance is part of the zoning ordinance.
In other business, the board:
• held a public hearing regarding a confinement construction at 2915 Redwood Avenue and then voted to acknowledge it;
• approved a resolution regarding the Huber Farms subdivision;
• approved several interfund operating transfers; and
• approved seven fireworks permits.