Columbia County commissioners were expected Tuesday to take another step in approving new development rules for some of the county's commercial intersections.
Despite inexplicable delays, and what could be even more foot-dragging because of holiday schedules, the so-called development "nodes" are on track to be put in place. It's about time.
Judging from the reaction of some developers and, belatedly, the county's Chamber of Commerce, you'd think these new design rules were going to shut down new construction.
Conversely, judging from the alarmist reactions from anti-development activists, you'd think the delays in approving the new rules are just an excuse to strangle them in their cradle.
The reality is somewhere between those extremes. The Node Protection Overlay Districts at Belair/Columbia roads and Furys Ferry/Evans-to-Locks roads won't halt development, but they would greatly upgrade its appearance.
Some property owners think the rules go too far. But they need to keep in mind that Columbia County's citizens have developed (pardon the pun) a sizable chunk of cynicism regarding developers' motives. Their perception - frequently validated - is that developers will try to get away with whatever they can to make a buck. For cynics, the rules don't go far enough - and the repeated delays look suspicious.
Passing these new protections won't earn much thanks from that cynical crowd, even though the ordinances are a pretty bold step for the commission. And the effort to maintain high standards won't get applause from many developers, who fear higher costs.
But once the new rules are in place and enough time has passed to begin showing the progress they promise, county officials certainly will have earned praise for hitting it squarely down the middle.
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