I agree with the recent editorial that it is wrong for Ron Cross to bend the rules in any situation. His most recent wish to grant Fatz Cafe a variance for a gravel parking lot is unacceptable, too.
I was at the meeting when Cross explained that he had promised the owner of Fatz Cafe that he would do everything in his power to grant the variance. Cross asked the county attorney and staff to "find a way to make it happen, and do so immediately."
Cross also explained that the owner of Fatz didn't want to pave extra parking because he had plans to sell that portion of his land to another business. The new business would bear the expense of paving the lot and Fatz would then use it for extra parking when needed.
The attorney and staff, of course, laid out the legal procedure for the variance. The process takes time for legal notice in the paper, a public hearing at a Planning Commission meeting, and then referral to the commissioners for final vote. Thank goodness, someone wants to follow the rules.
The public will have the opportunity to debate this variance at Thursday's Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. at the Evans Government Complex Auditorium. ...
Cross pointed out how the owner of Fatz has followed every single rule to the letter, has a great business going, and needs a break. So have many other businesses. Every business is expected to follow the rules without expecting a reward or favor in return.
The commissioners took an oath to enforce our ordinances and local laws. They didn't take an oath to grant variances at their whim anytime they wish to grant favors to reward businesses.
The only legal justification for granting a variance is for a hardship case. Losing money or having to spend money is not justification for granting this variance.
At the May 18 Commission meeting, Cross publicly joked and made light of the editorial and cartoon about his bending the rules. Cross and the other commissioners need to understand that not enforcing our ordinances isn't funny. Our ordinances may not be perfect, but they are all we have, and they need to be applied even-handedly, all the time, without exception.
Jeri Whitworth, RHIA
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