EDITORIAL: Zoning Ordinance

CHICKASAW_Journal_BANNERDefining quality of life is difficult, but following planning and zoning ordinances is one way to get there.

The complexity of Houston’s ordinances and zoning regulations is not any different from the intricate and involved rules and city laws found in Okolona or Tupelo.

Few people know all the details. The best residents can hope for is someone at City Hall or on the Planning and Zoning Board who can zero in on the details of city law and find out what the written rules actually are.

But often times, the rules don’t seem to satisfy the landowner who wishes to do something different with his property. And practically all towns allow a property owner to appeal a ruling of the Planning and Zoning Board to the City Board of Aldermen.

This is where the problem begins.

Planning and Zoning Boards – who are appointed by Aldermen – see rules and regulations, neighborhoods and community. They make their decisions on what they think ordinances and zoning regulations say. Their goal is to apply the rules fairly and uniformly.

Aldermen and city boards – who are elected – see voters and realize denying an appeal can hurt them at the polls. They are traditionally good-hearted officials who want to find a way to please everybody.

And they often vote to over-rule the direction of the very Planning and Zoning Boards they appoint.

There is nothing illegal about this and sometimes their wisdom is needed in a special case.

But we urge city fathers in Okolona, Houston, Woodland and Houlka to follow carefully the rules and regulations, the city ordinances and zoning laws they currently have on the books.

Voting to circumvent those ordinances can lead to legal problems, even worse they don’t improve the quality of life of a community.

We urge city leaders to either enforce the ordinances and zoning regulations of their community or get them off the books.

 

 

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