Zoning on the ballot for Cole County

The discussion of zoning started after an adult entertainment facility opened 8 years ago

Cole County voters will be deciding whether or not they want zoning to come to Cole County.

Cole County Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said the discussion for zoning in the county was brought up 8 years ago.

An adult entertainment facility opened its doors in a residential neighborhood next door to two day cares.

"That wasn't the reason zoning was started, but that was kind of the triggering event that got people discussing, now is this really something we want," said Ellinger.

At the time, there were no rules as to who could open up businesses in the county.

This facility was also about 500 feet from the county line.

Ellinger said, "It will preserve existing property uses and it will allow future growth and development in the county.  It will also allow folks to have a say potentially what goes in next to them, which unincorporated Cole County right now, anything can go into any property at any time."

Ellinger said the Commission discussed the rezoning extensively the past few years, but said they would not make anything final unless the voters had the chance to look over everything first.

He said the zoning does not apply to the various cities around the county, such as Taos, Wardsville, and St. Martin.

However, residential areas like Apache flats and West View Heights can benefit from the zoning.

"So if someone wants to put in a business in the middle of a residential area, currently they can just do that.  Going forward, they'll actually have to petition to change the use of the land," said Ellinger.

This allows homeowners to have a say in whether they want a particular business next door to their home.

There are maps of the zoning on the Cole County Commissioners website, as well as a more detailed map at the Cole County Public Works office.

Ellinger said people can look at these maps before they vote to know where the zoning begins and ends.

Cole County will vote on the zoning issue August 5th.

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