Friday, October 24, 2014

Farm Bureau offers aid in zoning revision

The Elkhart County Farm Bureau is offering up a helping hand to update the county's zoning ordinance.
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — A revamped zoning ordinance that sparked a wildfire of criticism last year is back up for discussion, and the Elkhart County Farm Bureau wants to be part of that conversation.

Like many of the 200 county residents who protested an overhaul of the ordinance last year, the Farm Bureau felt that it included too many restrictions and infringed on property rights instead of guiding the county’s development. Dwight Moudy, Farm Bureau board spokesman, told the Elkhart County Plan Commission on Thursday morning that the ordinance “went too far,” but the group is willing to lend a helping hand as the county moves forward to revise the 40-year-old document.

“We at the Elkhart County Farm Bureau stand ready to work with you and any other groups in the county to make this a workable, fair ordinance for everyone,” Moudy told the plan commission. “We’re a very diverse county, and we feel that the ordinance should reflect all of that.”

Plan commission members agreed that while the proposed zoning ordinance was more user friendly and easier to comprehend, it was missing one key element — public input.

“I can only speak for myself, but if this comes back, I’m going to expect a lot of help from a lot of different organizations,” plan commission member Dennis Sharkey said, specifically naming the Farm Bureau, schools and city officials.

Jeff Burbrink, plan commission president, echoed Sharkey.

“We put a lot of years of effort into that draft, and I felt even back in December when we decided that we were going to launch it that we really didn’t have any good input from the public,” Burbrink said. “The process is really as important as the development of the rule itself, and if you don’t have public input to the degree you should, it doesn’t come out well, and we saw that a year ago.”

In the next month, the plan commission will form a subcommittee that will craft a process to revise the zoning ordinance and gather public comments.

“Just don’t get too far ahead without bringing in all the players,” Sharkey said.

Moudy said he has spoken to several people throughout the county who would be willing to volunteer their time to help the plan commission.

“We have such a diverse county that it’s imperative to have everybody working together to get this done the right way,” he explained. “Nobody says we don’t need zoning reformed. We do. We need to change some things, but let’s do it in a way that everybody pries into it and everybody takes ownership.”

Recommended for You

 This Oct. 21, 2014 photo shows political campaign signs near a state highway in Westerville, Ohio. Signs touting local and statewide candidates are in full bloom along highways, street corners and public rights of way. Enter the Columbus Sign Ninjas, a group that sprang up to take down campaign clutter from public spaces. (AP Photo/Columbus Dispatch, Fred Squillante)

Posted 1 hour ago
 FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, Bellevue Hospital nurse Belkys Fortune, left, and Teressa Celia, Associate Director of Infection Prevention and Control, pose in protective suits in an isolation room, in the Emergency Room of the hospital, during a demonstration of procedures for possible Ebola patients in New York. A doctor who recently returned to New York City from West Africa is being tested for the Ebola virus. The doctor had a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms and was taken Thursday to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Posted 1 hour ago
 In this photo taken on Oct. 12, 2014, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron delivers his homily during Mass at St. Francis D’Assisi Church in Detroit. Building on the idea of flash mobs, a group called the Detroit Mass Mob picks one historic Roman Catholic church per month and encourages area worshippers to show up for a service. Its church for October was St. Francis D’Assisi. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

Posted 1 hour ago
Back to top ^