Friday, April 4, 2008

Mac Lee is smiling

County zoning necessary
By The Fergus Falls Daily Journal
Published Thursday, April 3, 2008

What will Otter Tail County look like in the years to come? That’s a question county residents should be asking and the county board is preparing to answer as it starts the process of considering countywide zoning. Experts have predicted that over the next 20 years Otter Tail County's population is projected to grow by about 30 percent. That will bring new housing — particularily in our lake regions — and new commercial and industrial businesses, as well.

Otter Tail County has 62 townships, but only about 25 of them have zoning ordinances. There is no blanket county zoning ordinance in place, which means that in more than 35 Otter Tail County townships, building projects go unregulated. A zoning ordinance would establish regulations so that the vision for the future can be put into place. Nothing has been enacted, but the Otter Tail County Board of Supervisors is looking at what other counties are doing and have done to enhance investment prospects. Appropriate zoning could enhance prospects for a full range of new investments, expanding job opportunities and growing our tax base. It should be looked at as opening the door to greater development rather than a restriction on individual rights. Zoning and codes provide protection for property values and guide growth in zones, or districts, established by county government. The pressure of growth needs local control, and zoning is the proven, successful method used by local governments throughout the region.

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