CAMDENTON, Mo. - Organizers of a new Camden County Planning & Zoning Master Plan encouraged the P&Z Commission to adopt the plan Wednesday night. The Commission unanimously voted to refer the new plan to committee for further review after hearing public opposition.
Vicky McDuffy, a former commissioner who has worked diligently on the plan, described it as a vision, a living document of policies, goals and strategies for the future development of Camden County.
Previous to the meeting, County Planner Chris Hall characterized the Master Plan as a guidance document the P&Z Commission would use in tandem with land use codes when considering zoning requests on a case-by-case basis.
“This is just a plan. Not code. Not regulation,” McDuffy said.
However, the plan does recommend the passage of land use codes, as realtor Nancy Rogers of Gravois Mills, Mo., pointed out when referring to the Master Plan’s intent to amend subdivision regulations to require sidewalks and trails.
Hall advised Rogers and a group of opposition speakers that any recommendations in the plan would have to be passed by the board to become a regulation. By statute a public hearing and comment must be heard by the board before passing new regulations. “The Master Plan does not make anyone do anything,” Hall said. He also clarified that even if regulation were passed, existing developments would be grandfathered. “We cannot go back in time on any development,” he said.
Dick Denowsky, a member of the advisory committee for the new Master Plan, spoke in support of the plan: “It brings issues together as a road map.”
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” Denowsky said.
The theme of the opposition to the new Master Plan on Wednesday night was more input, more input, more input.
Lance Kellogg of Camdenton, Mo., stepped up to recommend the board not vote on the Master Plan urging decision makers to solicit more public opinion.
“Guides turn into policy, policy turns into regulation. That’s just the way it is,” Kellogg said. He emphasized that while the plan may be based on the community’s vision, “I’m part of the community and this is not my vision.” Kellogg said his family moved to Lake of the Ozarks 14 years ago because they liked the environment and the absence of government control over property.
According to Nancy Osborne of Sunrise Beach, Mo., the organizers of the new plan have ignored part-time homeowners entirely. Osborne argued that if the county expects part-time homeowners to pay sales tax, real estate tax and personal property taxes, they should also be contacted for input concerning the Master Plan. Osborne argued that legal notices in the newspaper about public hearings don’t reach part-timers because they are not at the lake to pick up the local newspaper. “This plan impacts those people more than anyone else…. We’ve totally lost sight of what we are doing, trying to appease a few people,” Osborne said.
Resident Bruce Barton suggested the county send a mass mailing to residents to solicit opinion. “If they can come up with $150,000 for a plan, they can come up with $4,700 for a mass mailing.” Barton recommended the board delay the vote until May or June to collect comment from the public and study the impact the plan may have on the community.
The city planner would later comment during a telephone interview that he thought the $4,700 quote was understated given the over 50,000 property owners that would have to be reached in a mass mailing.
Local builder John Williams said simply, “The average person does not know what’s going on,” with regard to the details of the Master Plan.
Chuck Burns, a realtor for Sunrise Beach, went on the record to say the plan is, “Not made for the lake area…. The utopia that this book is describing is not here.” Burns said the new plan leads people to believe it is the intent of the community to stop development. “It was development that brought the people in. It was not parks,” he said.
Ron Richards voiced his concern that placing additional financial burdens on real estate developers would cause a rise in the cost of construction. “If we make developers adhere to this, the price of homes will drastically rise…. We all heard of the Bridge to No Where, maybe this is the Bike Trails to No Where,” Richards said.
Candidates for Camden County Commissioner Eric Mayer and Kristopher Franken both appeared at the P&Z meeting.
Mayer expressed unfettered support of the new plan and appreciation for the P&Z Commissioners’ service.
Franken said on the record that he was not against the plan. However, he expressed concern about the plan’s limitation on water and sewer expansion. Franken is not comfortable with the idea of the county having the ability to pick winners and losers when it comes to the development of real estate. “It’s against free-market capitalism,” he said.
“Part of the reason you see opposition now is because many people thought the existing plan was OK,” Franken said.
The day after the meeting the city planner addressed opposition concerns by explaining how over the last three years the new Master Plan developed.
According to Hall, Mactec Engineering and Consulting Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., was awarded the $140,000 contract by the county partially due to the firm’s reputation and model for acquiring and filtering public input. Originally, Mactec consultants from the company’s St. Louis office wanted to complete the Master Plan in one year, but the county requested the process be spread over three years to allow for an extended period of public comment and to spread the cost over three budget cycles.
Hall said nine public meetings have been held during different seasons of the year to allow for comment from full- and part-time property owners. There was also a three-month online survey conducted in 2009. The city planner said Mactec used responses to develop top priorities and categorize or eliminate outliers.
The current P&Z Master Plan was approved in 2003. Unified land use codes were legally adopted on June 1, 2004.
http://www.camdenmo.org/planning_zoning/index.htm">View Camden County Lake Area Master Plan
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