Letter to the Editor

Out of touch commission

Monday, June 25, 2018

At a public hearing on June 13, the Cape Girardeau Planning and Zoning Commission voted to rezone a small parcel of land from R1 (Single Family Residential) to R3 (High Density Single Family Residential). The neighborhood adjacent to the rezoned site is just off Old Hopper Road at the top of the hill where the road makes a sharp bend. The change was done in spite of the 20 to 30 local residents who attended the meeting and objected to the change. Objections included concerns with spot zoning, traffic congestion, drainage problems, inadequate infrastructure and others.

This is not a wealthy neighborhood. Itís mainly good, working-class folks who take pride in their modest homes and take care of their property. Most have lived there for many years and objected to changing the character of the area. Some pointed out that a similar request was recently denied in a more upscale neighborhood.

The Zoning Commission, all white males, arenít representative of the general population. Iím sure theyíre good men who take their role seriously, but they may have trouble identifying with working-class folks. In fact, none of the commissioners interacted with those of us who spoke at the hearing or showed empathy for our concerns. A couple even lectured us a little after voting.

Depending on where you live, you shouldnít count on the Zoning Commission to help protect the value of your property or the character of your neighborhood.

Gary L. Gaines, Cape Girardeau