Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Twilight Zoning: beatin-up a county for "Lee City"

 

September 1, 2021 | View PDF



Submitted for your (dis)approval. Our next chapter of ‘Malice in Hubbardland’ addresses ‘I like Mike’ minions pressing the Lee County delegation to impose zoning on all remaining Beats (like recently duped Beat 13) instead of each beat voting. ‘Flyover country’ must be incorporated into their “Lee City” vision (think UN Agenda 21) Master Plan these statists fought so long and hard to accomplish these past decades. Conveniently, this already written Lee County Master Plan is their foundation for zoning and consolidation.

Fearing property rights (specifically trespass) would not be respected, citizens of Beat 13 voted to adopt zoning rules to protect themselves from another quarry. When the Planning Commission openly admitted inability to stop the quarry, County Commissioner LaGrand [Dist. 5] adamantly declared opposition to the quarry. With Beat 13 successfully misled into adopting zoning, Chairman Flannagan urged appointed (not elected) commissioners to contact the County Delegation and press State legislators to impose zoning power on all beats. Flannagan said (with no press and few non-govt. employed citizens present) he’d spoken to Sen. Randy Price who was in support; asserting a desire for the people’s will to be done. If truly advocating the people’s will, let citizens of each Beat vote on zoning -- just as Beat 13 voted.

Without Zoning/Beat maps for the remaining unincorporated areas provided, those interested in the fate of their property are once again poorly informed. Why do commissioners want citizens uninformed as they press the delegation for more power? As with blocking citizen comment from taxpayer funded audio/video feed and put into the record on Lee County Commission meetings, citizens are similarly impeded from observing zoning commission meetings.

One citizen expressed concern w.r.t. vagueness of zoning rules and lack of clearly defined standards the Zoning Review Board uses. One Planning Commissioner assured the questioner appeal processes would protect property owners. If one is brave enough to challenge zoning decisions and loses, (s)he pays all legal fees instead of only court cost as is customary. This discourages citizens exercising their civil rights to grieve county wrongdoings. Why doesn’t the county pay property owner legal fees when owners win? – the owner has already paid taxes for county attorneys. Some may not want to delegate their property use rights to a Board whose rules are vague and confers huge discretion to yet another layer of bureaucrats. Recent twilight zoning inconsistencies are indeed ripe for suits against the county.

Zoning promises to be expensive directly and indirectly. Another county administrator is appointed and paid to enforce restrictions. The Zoning Review Board is comprised of a Planning Director, Public Works Director, two experts (planner, architect, civil engineer and one public member). Currently County Commissioners decide these issues without the ‘twilight buffering’ of these politburo members/bureaucrats. Citizens can attend second and last Monday meetings with a modicum of accountability because each county commissioner’s vote is recorded and in the minutes. Commissioners making poor decisions may be voted out. With yet another layer of bureaucracy, there’s less transparency.

Property owners have been well blocked from determining their own fate as informed citizens. The most corrupt commissioner (on the prior Lee County planning commission) has long championed this UN Agenda 21 style Master Plan. Quarry fears paved an easy (however well-intentioned) path to induce Beat 13 citizens to embrace/adopt this power grab to get ‘the camel’s nose under the tent’ and restart this planning apparatus. Imagine if we had less corrupt/more thinking politicians which required Lee County quarries post a bond and sufficient insurance to pay for damaged homes, destroyed aquifers, sinkholes, etc. due to their economic activities/trespasses. The libertarian in me champions individuals doing as they wish on/with their property until they damage others/generate significant negative externalities to others.

All this aligns with increased Hubbardland efforts to impede citizen input, failing to provide documents requested (like legal bills supposedly to block a quarry) and establishing more bureaucratic layers between commissioners and those they serve. One of the most gut-wrenching moments occurred when a citizen comment/question was asked by Morris Lewis, fearing the proposed property ordinance would prevent his business of buying/selling trucks. Mr. Lewis was assured he was protected by ‘grandfathering.’ County commissioners did not explain if his business requires repairs/maintenance/restoration in excess of 50% of the govt. determined valuation, it will no longer be ‘grandfathered.’

For those who’ve witnessed a corrupt probate judge assign commissioners ‘to do their bidding’ (again another safety layer) and provide valuations the judge desires… that is if the commissioner wants to do more govt. appraisals in the future - there’s little to no comfort. Some who found it worth the effort and could afford the time and resources to take govt. valuations to circuit court received about three times what the commissioners submitted; still well below ‘replacement/reproduction’ (18-1a-et seq.) documentation submitted to the court by non-govt. appraisers. Even more illustrative, some property owners were offered a pittance to purchase their ‘uneconomic remnants’ to be treated poorly for refusing the government’s beneficence; only to find upon receipt of the first tax assessment (or ‘love letter’ as called by our revenue commissioner) on their ‘uneconomic remnant’ it was valued 15 times the amount offered when the govt. wanted to acquire it.

It may seem foolish to demand competence and quarry bonding in a county with a commission abdicating oversight roles, doesn’t follow/enforce existing land management/subdivision rules and access management policies, already failed to bond employees required by law, thwart efforts to provide law enforcement resources to address wrongful dumping in county dumpsters along with overloaded trucks/verify large trucks are properly tagged/insured, submit fraudulent traffic studies to return bonds to crony developers, etc… I know some care if the blue or red parasite sucks them dry, a quarry or a commissioner steals their property rights. Those who remain in ‘Lee City’ will be well served to have a liquid stash of monies substantial enough to quickly move elsewhere when a politburo member comes knocking on their door.

 

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