By Town of Terry Mayor Ron Kiosse & Charles Deisher Zoning Commission Chairman
Recently, I had submitted a column in the Terry Tribune discussing the Growth Policy that is currently underway for the Town of Terry. Today I would like to take some time to discuss the potential adoption of zoning subsequent to completion of the Growth Policy.
Whereas the Growth Policy is a guiding document mandated by state law; zoning is a form of regulation that cities, towns and counties may choose to enact as a tool for planned growth and the preservation of property values.
As stated in Montana Code Annotated 76-2-304:
Criteria and guidelines for zoning regulations. (1) Zoning regulations must be:
(a) made in accordance with a growth policy; and
(b) designed to:
(i) secure safety from fire and other dangers;
(ii) promote public health, public safety, and the general welfare; and
(iii) facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water,
sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements.
(2) In the adoption of zoning regulations, the municipal governing body shall consider:
(a) reasonable provision of adequate light and air;
(b) the effect on motorized and nonmotorized transportation systems;
(c) promotion of compatible urban growth;
(d) the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses; and
(e) conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the jurisdictional area.
In response to questions I have been asked recently, zoning does not and will not tell you how many flowers you may plant or what color you may paint your house. Prior to enacting a zoning ordinance, the Town Council will hold public hearings. Also, any zoning regulations that are enacted will not affect how a property is already being used—it only affects the future use of a property. As stated in the “Planning Board Member’s Handbook” that our planning board folks are using, “The basic premise of zoning is that property owners accept some limitation on the type of development allowed on their own property in exchange for some predictability about the types of development that they can under take and that can occur in the area around them. For example, property owners within a residential subdivision would likely not be happy about the impacts that adjacent gravel pit, sewer lagoon or industrial operation could have upon a person’s quality of life or property values. Zoning can ensure such impacts do not occur, or are limited so as to ensure compatibility with adjacent land uses.”
In closing, I feel that our town will benefit from the increased protection of zoning. Several other communities in our region are also looking at zoning as a way of preserving the character of our towns while encouraging planned growth and welcoming new faces to town. We encourage everyone to take part in the process of growth planning and zoning, whether it be by asking questions or making suggestions.
Every Zoning Commission, Growth Planning Board and Town Council meeting is a public meeting with a time for public comment scheduled on the agenda. Please feel free to call or stop by with any questions you may have. Thank you for your time.
Published June 13, 2012