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Vote Now: Should Lake County Approve Zoning Amendments?

Lake County sees its second special election of the year next week Tuesday, as the whole county goes to the polls to vote on a major zoning ordinance revision, which my Winfred Freedom Party friends referred to a vote. The Madville Times continues its tradition of unique local polling by asking you, dear blog readers, "Should Lake County voters approve the revised zoning ordinance?" Yea or nay, click your preference here in the near right sidebar. I'll keep this poll open until Monday morning, when we'll talk about the results.

I've already laid out my read of the new zoning rules, which actually increase the allowable use of land in the county. The letters to the editor in the print Madison Daily Leader are also hitting the issue hot and heavy in the run-up to Tuesday's vote. In Tuesday's paper, County Commissioner Dan Bohl takes zoning opponents to task for incurring $6,000 of special election expenses:

It only seems to me that those whom you have elected should be trusted, great expense should be saved, and a group of individuals who were not elected but who have presented numerous letters to the editor of this paper should not be listened to as if they were the final authority in the matter [Dan Bohl, letter to the editor, Madison Daily Leader, 2011.03.08].

I'm not sure questioning the authority of citizens who write letters to the editor is the best rhetorical tactic to adopt in a letter to the editor.

Here's a list of Tuesday's polling places:

  • Chester Fire Hall: Chester and Franklin townships
  • Wentworth Fire Hall: Wentworth and Rutland townships, town of Wentworth
  • Nunda Fire Hall: Nunda and Summit townships, town of Nunda
  • Ramona Parish Hall: Concord, Badus, and Wayne Townships, town of Ramona
  • Dakota Prairie Playhouse: everybody else!

Lake County neighbor and political frequent flyer Jan Nicolay duels with Winfred activist Charlie Scholl in last night's paper. I don't have the copy in front of me, but Nicolay lays out the case for sensible zoning regulations, while Scholl frets over violations of fundamental property rights.

I want to sympathize with my neighbor Charlie, who has suffered no small amount of grief at the hands of the law. I have my own gripes about zoning rules and, more broadly, the property-value mindset that treats land and houses purely as financial assets and taxes me more just because my surrounding neighbors build more extravagant domiciles. But the pending zoning revisions isn't the place to have that fight. The pending ordinance revisions create no vast infringement on liberty that doesn't already occur and that isn't part of the sensible land-use regulations that any civil society needs.

But we'll see if you dear readers and the general electorate agree... or are even concerned enough to get up and vote on Tuesday! Vote in the online poll here, then take time Tuesday to vote!

Boy, now I just hope folks don't get election fatigue before they get the chance to vote for me in the school board election April 12!

One Comment

  1. Michael Black 2011.03.12

    To Mr. Bohl: The people are the final authority on this matter. The petitioners are well within their rights to refer the zoning regulations to a vote. The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to voice their opinion.

    Please vote on Tuesday.

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