Supporters say politics killed UDOPublished 11:04pm Sunday, February 9, 2014
McDermott also said while current county commissioner Michael Gage was a Columbus Town Councilman, he voted in favor of a mountain and ridgeline protection ordinance for the town that is much stronger than anything in the UDO or the county’s mountain and ridgeline protection ordinance.
“Yet Gage labeled Polk County’s MRPO ‘garbage’ when he was running for election to the Polk County Board of Commissioners,” McDermott said.
McDermott said she hopes during the next election the voters are better informed and reject the falsehoods some use to get elected.
David Weiss, a county resident who attended most UDO meetings said the UDO was based on the 20/20 vision plan which was based on a survey of residents where nearly half (46.6 percent) of respondents said they are dissatisfied with how green space is protected in the county, more than half (61.8 percent) responded they are dissatisfied with how well the rural character of the county is being protected, more than two-thirds (68.5 percent) responded they are dissatisfied with how well the county is protecting its mountain views and nearly half (45.1 percent) feel that the county has done a poor job of managing growth and development. Growth management was also listed as a dominant issue in the report, Weiss said.
“The UDO was a nice attempt to resolve these growth and environmental issues,” Weiss sad. “There were certainly good people involved. But the oppositional nature of the predominantly two-party system polarized both the UDO issue and interactions between board members (and subsequent members).”
In hindsight, Weiss said the UDO should never have been in the control of party-affiliated politicians.
“Just look how much money was wasted in going through the process of hiring consultants, then negating the fruits of their labors,” said Weiss. “What if we were talking about a person, symbolizing the composite actions of both parties? You would have a person who makes a goal, follows through and then destroys their own work.”
Weiss said if a passionate artist wants to destroy their own art as an expression that is fine, but don’t waste his money doing it.
Lisa Krolak, who was chair of the county planning board when it approved recommending the UDO and a member of the UDO committee, said she appreciates the work of the county visioning committee and the 20/20 vision plan that they wrote. The 20/20 vision plan was to help guide development of Polk County and the UDO was to put into practice the regulations that would guide the county and help materialize the ideas from the 20/20 plan, she said.
“With new or improved regulations, there will be new ideas and ways to develop the land and the economy,” Krolak said, “all of which will help Polk County flourish and yet retain its rural beauty and charm.”
Krolak said as she sat on the planning board as it reviewed the UDO a final time before being sent to commissioners in the fall of 2012, she watched the UDO “turn into a political football.”
She said she felt bad as she watched the UDO shredded for political fodder and the politics of it got so bad that during the public hearing at Polk County High School the auditorium was filled with people coughing so loudly during her comments that she had to stop speaking.
She said the UDO is basically shelved until another board comes along and takes an interest.
“We should hold a binding referendum on the UDO in the 2014 Polk County election,” Krolak said. “Let the people vote on the UDO. Skip the political satire that seemed to steer the last election and focus on facts and facts alone and let the people of the county decide for themselves. Take the politics out of the UDO and put Polk County back in.”