To the editor:

I attended a recent meeting of the County Planning and Zoning Commission during which a presentation was given explaining the proposed new County Comprehensive Plan. It is disappointing that so few county residents attended.

While much information was gathered during several meetings held last year and maps have been created explaining what has been proposed for all rural portions of the county, it should be understood that the plan is merely a proposal and until it is implemented, interlocal agreements can be reached if certain communities wish to maintain rural atmosphere within the neighborhoods, thus controlling the growth of subdivisions.

Ken Boone, with Olsson, conducted these meetings, gathering input from county residents. He made it clear to the commissioners that the input from those who attended the meetings preferred living within a rural atmosphere. 

Many of us are lifelong residents of the county and many more relocated to an agricultural county due to the secluded, rural setting.

We do not want the powers that be to create another congested Johnson County-type of high-density development.

On Dec. 4, 2019, the majority of our county commissioners greatly disappointed property owners in our neighborhood by approving a zoning change.

Virtually 100% of the surrounding landowners opposed this change. The county planners opposed this change. The commissioners are aware that we have opposed this change for nearly two years.

Despite this unanimous opposition, the commissioners overwhelmingly granted this change for one developer who doesn’t care about our concerns within this community.

Run-off due to the heavy rainfall last year and a clogged overflow tube in a small pond caused considerable erosion to the adjoining land owner’s property. So far, he has neglected to correct the problem.

Three families co-own a pond near this proposed development. They are concerned that children who will be living within the development will be attracted to it and could be endangered.

The owners expressed concern at the Dec. 4 meeting for the second time. They want the developer to erect a security fence to dissuade trespassers.

One commissioner asked him if he would provide a fence. His response was, “It’s not feasible.” If the unthinkable should happen, who will be responsible? Will it be the county for not requiring safety measures? The developer who is failing to secure the property? Or will the adjoining property owners be the ones left vulnerable to trespassers?

Understanding his lack of concern for the surrounding landowners, the commissioners voted to grant him a variance despite the area landowners’ concerns and opposition. Their only focus is potential revenue.

On behalf of our entire neighborhood, I want to thank 2nd District Commissioner Vicky Kaaz for being the only member to vote in our favor.  

I wish I could thank Doug Smith, Jeff Culbertson, Chad Shimke and Mike Stieben, however, they chose to disregard the opposition of virtually 100% of surrounding property owners in favor of one developer.