Letter: Backs St. Joe candidatesQuite a furor has arisen in the town of St. Joseph due to misunderstandings — intentional or not — regarding Chapter 168, the new and revised subdivision ordinance.
By: Carolyn Barrette, Town of St. Joseph, Hudson Star-Observer
Quite a furor has arisen in the town of St. Joseph due to misunderstandings — intentional or not — regarding Chapter 168, the new and revised subdivision ordinance.
The ordinance essentially codifies present practices at the town, county and state level with regard to subdivision development. It does not change the zoning of parcels; it outlines procedures for the subdivision of land into minor and major subdivisions and the accompanying paperwork. It also includes language regarding developers agreements, conservation easements and homeowners associations — to mention a few — in response to concerns and issues raised by citizens or in answer to problems created by development activity in the town in the last decade since the prior subdivision ordinance was written.
After three years of developing a comprehensive plan to meet the growth needs in the town, and then two and a half more years to write the accompanying ordinances to implement the plan, it’s too bad that some have to resort to the use of “boogey man” words to scuttle the efforts and work put in by citizen members of the Plan Commission and its subcommittee members who have devoted hours to what they thought was in the best interests for the future of the town.
There was certainly time for those who cared to learn about the proposed ordinance, and some did attend Plan Commission meetings. We started the state required Smart Growth effort in 2004 with public input meetings, and focus group sessions.
The Planning Commission and public devoted months to studying issues and developing a comprehensive plan which was adopted at a public meeting in 2006. That plan included a section on preserving a natural resources corridor as well recognizing future transportation, park, public safety, intergovernmental cooperation and development needs.
Starting in 2006, Plan Commission members began writing — and rewriting, and rewriting — the ordinances until the adoption of Chapter 168 earlier this year.
Good and fair government at the local level requires ordinances and policies that treat all equally and look to the future. St. Joe is fortunate to have a good board and chair who look forward at issues and are proactive in meeting the town’s needs. I urge St Joseph citizens to vote for Theresa Johnson for chair and Kevin Moelter for second supervisor to continue working in the town’s behalf. Fourth Supervisor Rick Colbeth has no opposition.
Carolyn Barrette, Town of St. Joseph
Member of town Plan Commission