Land Use Plan First Step On Path To Zoning

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Before Cannon County considers any zoning laws or ordinances, it should first determine how land in certain areas will be utilized.

That was the advice planner Shannon Copas gave to the Cannon County Planning Commission during its monthly meeting Tuesday (Jan. 24) at the courthouse.

At the direction of the Cannon County Commission, the planning commission is studying the pros and cons of implementing zoning in the county. Cannon County currently has no zoning laws or ordinances.

According to Copas, the Land Use planning process produces goals and policies which direct zoning regulations.

The closest thing Cannon County currently has to Land Use planning is an Urban Growth Boundary Map, which was adopted in 1999. That map establishes how far the county’s two urban areas, the Town of Woodbury and the City of Auburntown, can encroach into county territory without agreement.

Copas said zoning is a tool to implement the Land Use plan and policies.

“Zoning districts and standards should be justifiable and defensible,” Copas said. “Zoning must be reasonable.”

Copas added that zoning could not be used as a means of keeping certain types of businesses and establishments, such as rock quarries and adult entertainment stores, from operating in a county or municipality.

“You have to allow certain areas for any type of business. You can only restrict where they go,” he said.

The planning commission will meet several times over the coming months to formulate a Land Use (also known as a Comprehensive) Plan for the county. A public hearing to receive input from citizens must be held before it is adopted. The Land Use Plan will set guidelines for establishing areas such as agriculture, residential, commercial and industrial zones.

Zoning, in the context of community planning and development, can be described as the legislative process of dividing a community into distinct districts for the purpose of regulating building size and location, and the use of buildings and property.

County planners decided Tuesday that at next month’s meeting they would study the goals, objectives and policies of a Land Use Plan.

They will also switch their monthly meetings from the fourth Tuesday of each month to the third Tuesday to coincide with that of the Woodbury Planning Commission. Copus, who lives in Putnam County, serves as the planner for both bodies, and would like to limit the number of trips he makes here each month.