Zoning protects county

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I attended the Grayson County Supervisors meeting Jan. 9.
I am a retired land planner and new county resident, but I had heard that the board had voted to eliminate zoning in the county, a move that can increase property taxes plus negatively impact economic growth and public safety.
Commercial and industrial enterprises typically have greater infrastructure needs (water, waste disposal, electricity, road use), and these needs are more efficiently and cost effectively met in designated industrial and commercial zones.
Still, most planning authorities will consider zoning waivers if a business needs to locate in a rural/residential zone.
In these cases, zoning regulations ensure that the proposed business operates in a manner that does not result in costly demands for public services and protects public safety.  
When zoning waivers are requested, matters of public concern are the suitability of local roads to handle increased traffic by commercial vehicles and perhaps large trucks, access into the site so that traffic on public roads is not blocked by large delivery trucks, access for emergency vehicles (fire trucks and ambulances), increased demands for trash pickup and waste disposal, and the potential use of hazardous materials that might impact neighboring landowners.
Increased fire hazard from commercial operations in residential zones is of great importance to many rural communities and it is common to have local fire chiefs review development proposals.
Often added fire protection measures, such as sprinkler systems and fire ponds are required since the response time for fire trucks in rural areas can be longer than in designated commercial and industrial zones.
Toward the end of the meeting on Jan. 9, Mr. Combs spoke passionately about having his pallet business shut down by the Grayson County Planning and Zoning Commission.
As new county resident, I know little about the particular circumstances of his situation, but the pallet business sounds like it would be a good enterprise for this area.
Still, Grayson County officials have a responsibility to ensure that industrial uses operating in rural residential zones do so in a manner that protects public safety and minimizes costs to county residents.
Nancy J. Liebrecht