Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

September 28, 2017 County’s rezoning rules mean you can’t always get what you want
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

You probably heard about the recent rezoning request from Grant Schultz, who lives near Morse. Staff had urged the applicant to amend the request, but he demurred. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted it down 5-0. Again, the applicant was offered an opportunity to back out, but he refused. Last Thursday, the Board voted 5-0 to deny the rezoning.

There were a lot of really cool things proposed in this application. There were also several significant problems with this application. But there was a fundamental issue at stake – the applicant doesn’t own the land! The people who do have title objected to the rezoning. That really made this pretty simple. This had nothing to do with the rezoning, but I do want to note for posterity: I have received a fair amount of racist hate mail over the years. I have gotten a few more hate letters from Posse Comitatus and other anti-government groups. But I was called more names in the past week by Versaland supporters than I have been in my whole 13 years as a Supervisor. That had nothing to do with my decision in this case, but guys – this is NOT how you win friends and influence people! (To his credit, Mr. Schultz publicly condemned these emails.) It was also really disappointing to me how many people I know pretty well decided to jump to conclusions. Salvos readers – if you want to talk about Board business, just give me a call. These decisions are never made lightly. I hope folks will remember that good intentions exists on all sides.

So begins another round of internet-based bashing of Johnson County. Now we are opposed to farms, farmers, local foods, America, apple pie, and baseball. It’s really difficult to give small farmer what she/he wants (a 5 acre lot with a house and no rules) without creating out of control sprawl. I have been trying to find a set of solutions to this for years, but it’s easier to just claim I oppose local food. The whole thing is really getting old.

I recently finished the book “Janesville” by Amy Goldstein. It tells the story of Janesville, Wisconsin from 2008 to 2013 during which their GM plant closed. Janesville is the Seat of Rock County, Wisconsin. Rock County and Johnson County are very close in population, and Iowa City is just a bit bigger than Janesville. A regular player in the book is John Beckord, who served as President of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce before moving to Janesville. I knew John quite well, having recruited him to serve on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Johnson County. We have not suffered the same way as Janesville. But we can and should learn from their experiences! I strongly recommend this book!

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