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Zoning repeal? Not so fast, Grayson

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By The Gazette

The Grayson supervisors’ debate about a proposed repeal of the county’s zoning ordinance has revealed an internal conflict on that board that mirrors the divided nature of citizens’ opinions on the issue.
Though the anti-zoning faction on the board has claimed — with only anecdotal evidence — that their mission follows the will of a majority of citizens, the more vocal group has been the one defending zoning. More of them have been speaking at meetings, writing letters to the newspaper and voting in a Gazette online poll.
No matter which group truly holds the majority opinion in Grayson, it’s clear the zoning issue is causing a rift in both the community and local government.
A zoning repeal is a complex issue, nearly as thorny as the years of work it took to implement the ordinance, and one that deserves careful consideration. For that reason, we echo the words of a Grayson citizen who spoke to supervisors at a meeting last week. He was not for or against zoning, but came with a word of warning for the county board to slow down and consider all the implications.
Newly elected officials often feel empowered to make drastic changes as soon as they are seated, but zoning is a topic that should be considered more carefully than a campaign promise.
Will fixing the zoning ordinance be harder than repealing it? Of course, but we don’t elect officials to do the easy thing. We elect them to make informed decisions and weigh hard choices, even if they go against a supervisor’s personal opinions.
Some supervisors want a referendum to let voters decide zoning’s fate. But putting zoning to an up-or-down vote eliminates the messy — and necessary — process of making the ordinance better.
Zoning is a valuable tool, but one that can be made better. Rather than pick a side in the zoning debate, we challenge the supervisors not to take the easy way out. There’s no need to rush this important issue that will impact Grayson County’s future.