Zoning law needs a scalpel, not an ax

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By The Gazette

Last week, Grayson County supervisors put a temporary stop to the controversial zoning repeal that has split the county into two sides over the past month.
The supervisors, the newspaper and social media have heard arguments from all sides during this divisive debate.
Some believe that zoning restricts their personal freedom to do what they want with their property. Others like zoning for that exact reason, because they don’t want to wind up with a brewery or a Hooters erected next to their church or family farm.
After so much debate and three supervisors’ determination to end zoning — based, they say, on their constituents’ wishes — it came as a surprise that the board voted unanimously to table the repeal and instead overhaul the ordinance.
Most surprising was that the motion came from the leading zoning foe, Wilson District Supervisor Glen Rosenbaum.
Perhaps the board’s anti-zoning trio (Rosenbaum, David Sexton and John Brewer) discovered over the past month that the overwhelming public sentiment in Grayson was not as opposed to zoning as they believed. Certainly, the most vocal citizens belonged to the pro-zoning faction.
If a majority of citizens feel zoning is an affront to their freedom, that wasn’t reflected at public hearings or in opinion pieces submitted to the newspaper.
We are pleased to see this move toward a compromise. As stated in an earlier editorial, fixing the ordinance will be hard, but important work. Ending zoning is the easy way out, but would create more problems that it would solve.
The Grayson Planning Commission, once ordered against a majority of its members’ wishes to end zoning, is now tasked by supervisors with fixing the document and is working to revise it to be more “user-friendly” for residents and business-owners.
Planning commission members hope that adding some clauses to the ordinance could ease pressure on the county’s property owners, some of whom feel like zoning was “forced on them” in the late 1990s.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the matter of the repeal is tabled for good, but perhaps a revision could show the community that officials are willing to work with them to solve their concerns.
We’re just glad to see Grayson’s zoning problems tackled with a scalpel, instead of an ax.