Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hyperbole often confuses issues
To the editor:

I take issue with Mark Byington’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 11th Bulletin, on several counts. He begins his letter with the statement, “Just a few years ago, a majority of the citizens of this county demanded that the county take action to prevent rampant development of the areas that make Polk County a special place to live, work and play.”

I assume he is referring the to the Visioning Survey; however, if memory serves me, only 22 percent of the county’s citizens filled out the survey. A majority of those who responded did in fact indicate a desire to preserve the rural nature of the county (at all cost?) but that is equivalent to only 12-14 percent of the county.

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In my opinion the county went of “half cocked” in an aggressive move to impart the will of 12-14 percent of the county’s citizens on the remaining 86-88 percent, and close the doors of the county to those evil developers, forever!

Yes, the commissioners spent a lot of time and money creating the Comprehensive Plan based on the desires of 12-14 percent of citizens.

This was followed by the costly and time consuming effort to create a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), in order to put some teeth in the Comprehensive Plan. The ensuing controversy over the UDO has resulted in the Commissioners choosing not to enact it at this time.

This has been a painful process for all those who served on the UDO committee, the planning board, and most definitely the County Commission. I think this was largely due to the fact that the Visioning Survey was a flawed effort…just not enough respondents. Consequently, it did not truly reflect the desires of the majority of the county.

However, I believe some good has come out of all this; and, as both sides work together we will hopefully come up with less restrictive, more reasonable regulations regarding land use. I haven’t seen any evidence of our farms being turned into parking lots. I should also point out that our building official continues to do a masterful job of preventing our mountainsides from turning into mudslides (he had nothing to do with Chocolate Drop)….but then, hyperbole often confuses issues.

– Bill Ennis, Mill Spring