Your Opinion: Misleading data on county zoning

Dear Editor:

Anyone who has attended the area meetings about zoning has heard Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz firmly assure everyone that agriculture cannot be regulated by zoning. In your story about nuisance chickens the front page article stated Commissioner Ellinger “pointing out that the county has no zoning laws that might have helped in this case.”

County officials are telling everyone what they want to hear so that they will vote for zoning. Unless there is some fine print that has not been revealed, Ellinger is incorrectly stating what zoning can do or Benz is misleading citizens about regulating farms.

I am sorry to see that misleading citizens is the zoning proponent’s tactic to get zoning passed. We have already seen misleading statements about regulating strip joints. After passage the housing developers can pressure zoning commissioners to prohibit anything they think might make their houses in the county less attractive to buyers no matter what it does to current residents.

Anyone planning to keep animals after the August vote should give some thought to whether their animals could be a nuisance to anyone and be regulated. If the Cole County public health code requires a health threat, how can tall grass be a health threat? The reason commissioners are not trying to prohibit nuisance chickens is to promote zoning.