Guest commentary

No one ‘thrown under bus’

Member, Marion Planning Commission

I regret that I am writing this, but since the tower issue is not behind us, I feel compelled to.

The request for the forgotten tower was brought to the city Planning Commission for informal discussion. At that meeting I said it did not appear the tower met zoning regulations and we probably could not approve a conditional use permit.

Since there was some urgency to get started on the tower, I then suggested that time could be saved if the request was taken to the Board of Zoning Appeals as a variance request. This was done, and a public hearing was scheduled, but it was cancelled when another approach was taken.

An appeal against the alternate approach was filed with the board and at that hearing, the appeal was upheld, saying state statues were violated. We had to start over.

During this next phase it was determined that a 92-foot tall antenna was not needed and the tower was redesigned so it met zoning regulations, and it was approved.

It is my contention that regulations are in place for a reason and should be followed. For example, if a person does not feel that a stop sign is needed at an intersection, that belief does not give that person, or any official, authority to ignore it, even at 2 a.m. when no one is around.

The way around it is to get things changed to fit the need, but until then it has to be obeyed. This is how I will continue to conduct myself on the Planning Commission.

Now what did we get? Instead of a 92-foot tower (as tall as the courthouse) with up to 13 antennas, we have an almost un-noticeable 45-foot tower with 4 antennas. We also have a modern “combiner” transmitter system that another neighboring county wants to convert to and junk their current system, which is similar to the one we had.

Did “two or three” of us cost the county $9,000? Or was it doing our jobs like we are required that resulted in the extra cost? Did we “throw” Mr. Kjellin “under the bus?” No! Doug, in his rush to move this project forward, made an error in judgment. The Planning Commission did its job as we were supposed to.

Isn’t it about time the county accepts its part in all this and put it to bed and quit throwing around false accusations and innuendos about the members of the Planning Commission? Isn’t it time volunteers are respected for doing their jobs rather than being blasted by paid officials? How long will the city and county be able to get quality volunteers, or any at all, if they continue to treat them like this?

 

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