In the November general election, Gadsden County residents will have a chance to weigh in on two issues that have long divided the local Board of County Commissioners and the public: the Citizens’ Bill of Rights and residential development on private land.
At the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners meeting last Tuesday, commissioners voted 3-1 to place three questions on the ballot. The first asks whether the Commission should amend the Comprehensive Plan and land development code to allow one dwelling per acre in all land use categories.
The second asks whether the so-called “supermajority clause” in the Citizens’ Bill of Rights, which requires a vote by the county commission of 4-1 to to approve comprehensive plan changes and major land developments, should be changed to allow for a simple majority.
The third and final question asks whether the Citizens’ Bill of Rights should be repealed altogether.
Though the ballot questions will afford citizens a chance to make their feelings known to county government, the results will be non-binding. Commissioners Brenda Holt, Eric Hinson, Sherrie Taylor and Anthony Viegbesie all voted to approve placing the questions on the November ballot; Commissioner Gene Morgan cast the sole “nay” vote.
The ballot questions stem from a petition conducted by Gadsden County resident Sam Palmer. In August, Palmer submitted to the local Supervisor of Elections 3,623 citizen signatures signed in support of changing the current land use code to allow landowners to build one home per acre on their land, regardless of zoning. The petition also favors a simple majority vote on land use and development matters.
Of the total signatures, the Supervisor of Elections deemed 3,018 of them to be valid.
Unfamiliar with the Citizens Bill of Rights? View the ordinance here: Gadsden County ordinance 2010-005: Citizens Growth Management and Planning Bill of Rights
By Brian Dekle