The problem with zoning modification hearings is politics, where a handful of politicians modify rules approved by the entire electorate. Tuesday’s hearing on the "Long Bar" project has a predictable outcome. We make a big mistake focusing on that project.
The electorate approves rules, officials change rules. Power is stolen from the people. Zoning hearings ensure voided rules, one project at a time. Whether it's a good or bad project (this could be either) is not the point. Take that power from officials, except for routine cases, make it a people’s referendum (no special elections) to approve major changes. No more pressure for corruption.
Our comprehensive plan needs changes. We need a number - 1,000,000, 20,000,000, some limit on the population size we want ,then no more. Stop growth by stopping housing construction. You can't move in until someone moves out. Set strict limits on population densities. A maximum for the entire county and limits in certain areas. Set asides for agriculture and parks. This would not end the world.
Most of the nation and this state and county are run on the assumption growth is the key to prosperity, and the quality of life. I would argue that New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angles are proof to the contrary. While places like Monetary and Carmel California, Martha's Vineyard, Camden Maine, are not popular because of shopping malls and high rises with wall to wall people. They are thriving with the static nature and beauty of small town America, because of the quality, not quantity, they offer.
To preserve parts of Manatee County I grew up in, we must start to put practical, agreed upon, limits on growth and not let a handful of politicians change the rules we make. That should be the focus of this meeting.
David R. Kraner