Cole County residents unsure on new zoning measures.

Jul 1, 2014

Some Cole County citizens are still unsure whether they’ll vote in favor of a proposal to create county zoning through a measure on the August 5th ballot. 

The ballot measure would allow the county commission and planning and zoning commission to create zoning in the unincorporated areas of the county. The initial draft of the proposal, available at colecounty.org, shows mostly agricultural areas, but also some industrial, residential and commercial.  

Citizens at a meeting on Monday night were concerned the zoning was a way for the county to improve real estate.  This could be the case because both the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors and Home Builders of Central Missouri have expressed their approval for the new plan.  They think county zoning would protect a homeowner’s property values.

Kris Ballage, a realtor on the Jefferson City Board of Realtors said the proposal is an effort to protect citizen’s property rights along with increasing real estate and growth within Cole County.

“I’ve seen a lot of instances where you might have residential and agricultural areas both that are not protected,” Ballage said, “It’s not an effort to tell county residents what they can and can’t do but rather an effort to protect all citizens rights and to encourage new growth within the county too.”

Ballage believes those who oppose the plan think that the government is trying to regulate and be more involved with the area.  She says this isn’t the case.

Opponents at the meeting also claim the plan doesn’t seem to have enough detail and citizens aren’t quite sure as to what exactly will be regulated and zoned.

Planning Director Larry Benz says the plan is easy to use and understand.

“It’s fairly basic,” Benz said, “It’s not in a whole lot of detail, as far as our depth of requirements. We’ve tried to keep it pretty basic and easy to use.”

Benz also said that if people do have questions about the plan they should call and ask those involved with the proposed plan.  He hopes all Cole County citizens make an informed vote.

Those in Cole County can vote on the zoning proposal on August 5th.