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Zoning repeal put on hold

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Grayson supervisors postpone efforts pending an overhaul of zoning ordinance

By Patrick Smith

INDEPENDENCE — The repeal of Grayson County’s zoning ordinance has been put on hold, at least for the time being, after a motion and a rare unanimous vote by the Grayson County Board of Supervisors to table the repeal process on Tuesday night.

Supervisor Glen E. Rosenbaum, who has fought for the repeal along with At-Large Supervisor David Sexton and Chairman John Brewer, made a lengthy motion to table the zoning repeal process and to direct the Grayson Planning Commission to revise the current ordinance to make it more “user-friendly” for citizens and businesses.
Rosenbaum stressed that tabling the matter didn’t mean it was over. “If we table the repeal process, it does not mean it is dead,” he said.
During his motion, Rosenbaum said he learned during his campaign for Wilson District Supervisor that “people want zoning off their backs” and “it was forced on them in 1998.”
He also took time to address the question many supporters of zoning have been asking — what is motivation to repeal the ordinance that has been in place for nearly 16 years?
“[Voters have] just now managed to elect supervisors willing to take it on,” he answered.
Rosenbaum said the law needed to be restructured, but also admitted that “we do have a need in the lower part of the county for some zoning.”
Oldtown District Supervisor Kenneth Belton asked how long the board would table the zoning discussion, to which Rosenbaum answered “long enough for the planning commission to submit zoning ordinance revisions.”
Rosenbaum added that he had discussed the matter with county Zoning Administrator Elaine Holeton, who told him she felt the planning commission could make the changes by May.
County Administrator Jonathan Sweet confirmed that the repeal process could still be reinstated at any time and that county attorneys had already drafted an ordinance of repeal that awaits the supervisors’ approval.
The repeal would still have to follow procedure, with the board advertising and holding a public hearing, and notifying every Grayson landowner by mail.
In closing discussion, the board encouraged citizen feedback about the zoning ordinance and how it should be restructured.
The motion to table the repeal comes after two months of often bitter arguments about zoning, with both citizens both pro- and anti-zoning packing supervisors’ meetings to the point that they had to be moved to Grayson County High School to accommodate the crowds.
After the votes on Tuesday, Belton expressed relief. “I’m glad we can all get back to working for the county. We’ve turned neighbor against neighbor and that’s not good.”

See next Wednesday’s edition of The Gazette for more on the zoning decision, including citizens’ reactions and more about proposed changes to the zoning ordinance.