About 300 residents attend UDO hearing

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Some of the approximately 300 residents who turned out for the public hearing on Polk County’s proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Monday, Sept. 17. (photo by Leah Justice)

81 percent of speakers against ordinance
When Polk County residents were asked for their opinions regarding a proposed unified development ordinance (UDO), phrases such as “loss of liberty” and “loss of property rights” rang through the auditorium.
Approximately 300 residents attended a public hearing and special meeting held Monday, Sept. 17 by the Polk County Board of Commissioners in the Polk County High School auditorium. Following the public hearing, which lasted three hours, commissioners entered into a special meeting in which they agreed to schedule a work session to discuss the proposed UDO on Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. After the work session, commissioners will hold a regular meeting at 7 p.m.
The meeting included lots of applause for people speaking against the UDO and boos for people speaking in favor of the document.
Of the 64 residents who made comments, 52, or more than 81 percent of the speakers, said they oppose the UDO. Some statements were harsh, with one resident telling commissioners anyone who votes yes on the UDO should be “tarred and feathered.”
Many residents said the county should hold a referendum on the document instead of letting three commissioners approve it. Others questioned some sections of the document as well as questioning whether commissioners themselves have read the almost 400 page document.
Ed Breedlove said the UDO should not be passed.
“It would be wrong for three people to pass an ordinance for 19,000 residents of this county,” said Breedlove. “It ought to be put to the people in its entirety.”
Hazel Splawn said Polk County already has enough ordinances.
“My children will have to go to China or Mexico to build a home,” she said.
Gary Curtis said he is opposed because the UDO is an infringement of liberty.

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