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Letter to the Editor: Transparency concerns with BOC

The headline in Jan. 1’s paper, “BOC approves developments on 400 corridor” surprised and confused me.  I had understood that no applications would be approved until February, 2020.  So to try to find some clarification, I did some research.  And I found the Board of Commissioners did indeed adhere to their stated procedures, but it seems to raise some transparency concerns.

The November 12 Dawson County News stated the BOC voted on November 4 for a moratorium on rezoning until February 7, 2020.  That this would be in effect, “while the commissioners attempt to rework the rezoning process, thereby ensuring the process be fair and efficient.”  And then the article did conclude stating’ “changes to the plan could be ready for vote as early as December 19.  If approved at that date, the moratorium would be lifted thereafter.”

Research shows that the Elliot family submitted two rezoning applications, both dated October 11, 2019.  On both applications, the Planning Commission Meeting date was noted for 11-19-2019, the Board of Commissioners Meeting date for 12-19-2019.  These are the two rezoning applications referred to in the paper last week unanimously approved.

Although I have some concerns regarding some of the proposed development in these projects, that is not my issue.

The dates reflected on the applications, the moratorium timing, and the subsequent lifting of the moratorium on December 19th when the applications were approved seem coincidental.  However, I understand the Commissioners followed their stated possible procedures.  What I hope they understand is that transparency is a requisite for public trust.

What rezoning laws were reworked between November 12 and December 19 that then resulted in the lifting of the moratorium?  What changes have been made?  Making the process clear as to how and why decisions get made is mandatory for maintaining public trust.  This timeline of events raises questions of the sort that do not help that to occur.

Gregg Anne Zubay