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One “Adult Entertainment Facility” along U.S. Highway 50 in rural Johnson County, Missouri.

Johnson County, Missouri doesn’t have countywide planning and zoning. Johnson County, Missouri does have “adult entertainment facilities”, a private detention facility, sanitary and demolition landfills, and many other attractions. On April 7th approval of planning and zoning will be on the ballot.

Don’t hold your breath.

An anti-zoning campaign sign along U.S. Highway 50 in rural Johnson County, Missouri

This has been tried before. In 1997 a bill was signed into law which simplified the process for implementing planning and zoning for counties which lacked such:

HB99 MAKES MASTER PLAN OF TEMPORARY COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION EFFECTIVE ON VOTER APPROVAL.

Sponsor: Williams, Deleta (121)

Effective Date:00/00/00

CoSponsor:

LR Number:0337-02

Last Action: 06/12/97 – Approved by Governor (G)

06/12/97 – Delivered to Secretary of State…

…TRULY AGREED

HB 99 — PLANNING AND ZONING

This bill allows for immediate implementation of alternative planning and zoning in all counties upon approval by a majority of the county voters.  Under current law alternative planning and zoning can not be implemented until the election of a county planning and zoning commission.

This bill has an emergency clause.

Planning and zoning was on the ballot in Johnson County shortly after that 1997 bill became law. The issue went down to an ignominious defeat. This was largely due to an organized opposition in the county that didn’t want anyone to tell someone how they could use land.

So why is this on the ballot again, more than ten years after the previous try?

In January 2007 a rumor was circulated that an adult sexual offender halfway house was going to be constructed in the western part of the county. Almost overnight a petition was circulated to have the Johnson County Commission create a temporary commission to “draft a proposed comprehensive plan and zoning regulations for voter consideration”. The county commission did so by June 2007.

As one wag put it, “people don’t want anyone to tell them what they can do on their land, they just want to be able to tell everyone else.”

The temporary Planning and Zoning Commission was appointed, organized, held meetings, held public forums, solicited comment and eventually created a bare bones planning and zoning plan [pdf].

Those home made opposition signs which had been gathering dust since the last go around have come out of storage and are sprouting like mushrooms next to the rural byways in the county.

I wouldn’t bet money that Johnson County, Missouri will have planning and zoning after April 7th.