Cape Girardeau County commissioners pass resolution opposing peripheral zoning law

Friday, January 28, 2011
An overflow crowd attended a public hearing with city and county officials on the Cape Girardeau city government's peripheral zoning proposal Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 at the Osage Centre. Overwhelming opposition to the city's proposal led to its defeat by the county commission. (Fred Lynch)

With last year's peripheral zoning debate still fresh, the Cape Girardeau County Commission passed a resolution Thursday asking state legislators to amend the law so that peripheral zoning can no longer apply to or affect the county.

The resolution did not specifically say how to change the language, but commissioners discussed a variety of options.

While the easiest alternative would be to add a line specifically exempting the county, Commissioner Jay Purcell said, Commissioner Paul Koeper and Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy did not support that idea.

The law currently allows peripheral zoning to exist around a city of more than 35,000 residents in first-class counties without a charter form of government. Purcell said raising the population requirements could be a possibility, as could adding a provision to exempt first-class counties but allow the practice in other classes of counties.

Koeper said he was uneasy changing the wording to disallow peripheral zoning in all first-class counties.

"We shouldn't control what these other guys want," Koeper said. He said other counties may see a need for it and may want to explore the option and that it was not Cape Girardeau County's place to dictate policy to other counties.

Tracy said he would be in favor of adding language to the law requiring representation on whichever council is requesting peripheral zoning. During last year's peripheral zoning request from Cape Girardeau, many said the lack of city council members from the periphery was alarming.

Purcell, who was a vocal opponent of Cape Girardeau's request, said there were more problems than a lack of representation on city council. He said the major sentiment was and is that peripheral zoning is forcing city laws on a segment of the county that does not want them. If a part of the county decides it wants the protections of city life, he said, those residents can approach a city about annexation.

Commissioners will be in Jefferson City, Mo., next week to attend training and said they plan to talk to other first-class county commissioners about peripheral zoning.

Other action

* Cape Girardeau County commissioners approved a bridge replacement on County Road 634 by the Cape Special Road District. While the bridge is under the district's maintenance jurisdiction, the county needed to grant permission because it affects the county's bridge replacement program's federal soft match credits.

* Commissioners also approved a service contract for elevator maintenance in the Jackson courthouse, the administrative building and the justice center.

* Mitch Robinson, executive director of Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, presented commissioners with the proposed enhanced enterprise zone application.

* Stephen Marchbanks was appointed to the mental health board.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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