State Law Confusion Sends Montgomery Co. Zoning Back To Plan Commission

May 13, 2019

County commissioners held their first May meeting in the city building Monday.
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A final vote on Montgomery County’s first zoning ordinance will have to wait until after elected leaders sort out the proper process to move it forward.

County commissioners removed the proposal from the agenda of their Monday meeting, citing procedural issues. Now, the proposed ordinance has to go before the plan commission a second time before the commissioners can vote on it.

The plan commission sent the ordinance to the commissioners last month with no recommendation to either approve or deny it. Last month, a county attorney said that passed muster. But state code says an initial zoning ordinance “may be certified only if it receives a favorable recommendation from the commission.”

Commissioner John Frey says that means they do need a recommendation, negative or positive, before they can vote on the proposed ordinance.

“Yes, there was a technical issue with the process, but the plan commission is meeting and we’ll address this with a little more information than we had a couple weeks ago when we met,” Frey says.

Plan Commission member Lynn Ringis says she appreciates the chance to slow down the process of approving the ordinance.

“Most of us are in favor of the zoning and the progress that it would bring to the community,” Ringis says. “There’s just some minor details in the zoning ordinance that are sticking points for some of us, and the fact that we feel like it’s been pushed through a little quickly.”

The push for zoning has been sped up, in part, because of the threat of legal action from a wind energy company over contracts to build in the county. The proposed ordinance creates strict regulations that would deter wind companies from building in the area.

The Area Plan Commission will meet to hear the ordinance again May 29.