Zoning procedure questionedAction on zoning ordinance will be delayed until after March 5 hearing
During the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, county attorney Larry Brock said that if the supervisors didn’t follow an opinion he gave last week regarding procedure to appeal the county’s zoning ordinance, he would not defend the county if a lawsuit resulted.
Supervisor Stan Stoops said that he had requested the zoning issue be placed on the agenda for the meeting. He said that he had intended to direct the county’s planning and zoning commission to make a recommendation on what to do with zoning. He said that since the opinion was released last Thursday, there has been nothing but “doubt.”
“I didn’t know if I was going to be opening a can of worms,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was doing something that would prevent us from rescinding it.”
He said that the opinion lists seven steps the board should take before voting on whether to rescind the county’s zoning ordinance, of which a planning and zoning commission recommendation is the first. During the public comment section of the meeting, many audience members questioned the meaning of the term “due diligence.”
Stoops said later in the meeting that he did not trust the legal counsel. He declined to get into the reasons why he said that. He said that he is not sure if the opinion was correct or not.
Brock said that he never said the supervisors couldn’t rescind the zoning ordinance. He said that he was asked to give an opinion of the steps that should be taken. The steps, he said, were the steps for amending the ordinance, which includes a repeal.
“You can follow them if you like or you can not follow them and get sued,” he said.
During the meeting, the board voted to defer asking the commission for a recommendation until after a March 5 public hearing on the issue.
Planning and zoning commission chair Don Kline was at the meeting. He said that the issue of rescinding the zoning ordinance is on the agenda for a meeting tonight, but he said that there wouldn’t be a recommendation. He said the members would have to determine the criteria to study the issue before a recommendation could be made.
Other steps cover different drafts of the recommendation and public hearings. It also says the board can take whatever action it feels appropriate.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a bid from DeLong Construction for $896,916 for grading 140th Street from W38 to Highway 1;
• approved hiring Trace Nebel as a part time jailer;
• Heard an update from Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson on the Country Club Road annexation project; and
• held a closed session to discuss strategy in a lawsuit filed against the county by Residents for a Better Richmond.