Chapter 48 still in the works

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Dissatisfied that the Williston Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee did not agree with the Chapter 48 rewrite in the Code of Ordinances, members of the Board of Adjustments and Code Enforcement (BACE) decided Monday night to try one more time.

Bruce Schupp, the chief author of the rewrite represented BACE in January at the P&Z meeting, where members called it "too subjective" and already containing much of what is currently in the ordinance that governs aesthetics and safety. P&Z members also said there does not need to be a citywide standard.

At the conclusion of the meeting, P&Z members suggested Schupp return to the Board of Adjustments and strengthen a selection of topics already in place without completely rewriting it. The committee did not vote for or against the rewrite.

"What gives them more power or knowledge?" BACE Chairwoman Sharon Brannan asked. "They're lay people just as we are."

"It's a matter of law," City Attorney Fred Koberlein said, reminding them that ordinances of this type go to P&Z before heading for approval to city council.

"You look on it in hope," Koberlein said, "that you'd have the support of the P&Z."

"We need to go down the road of popular support," Schupp said, adding that he will make edits to make it less subjective and take it again before P&Z – not as a discussion item, but as a topic that requires a vote.

"They (P&Z members) do not want a community standard," Schupp said, "that pertains to appearance and maintenance. They see that as government intrusion."

Member Tom Oakes said it seems the people are concerned more about the commercial district than residential areas.

Brannan said there can't be separate ordinances for them. She suggested the committee wait until after the P&Z's Beautification Committee meets next week, but Schupp said they could not let that be a distraction.