July 18, 2024

OTTAWA — City and county commissioners faced off Wednesday over an agreement that allows city planning officials to oversee most development in an area around the city. The city is half-way through a process of changing county zoning categories to city categories that most match the previous county categories. At the joint government meeting, county commissioners Ed Taylor and Don Stottlemire expressed some skepticism about how the city has handled the “urban growth area,“ the area immediately around the city and which under the agreement, the city handles planning, zoning and development decisions. Taylor said says gotten several complaints from county residents who are unhappy about being in the area under the control of the city without any representation in the city government. City commissioners Gene Ramsey and Blake Jorgensen had their doubts about the complaints and they said that both the city and the county benefit from the agreement. The city is also part of the county, Jorgensen said. City manager Richard Nienstedt said that in some cases, the city zoning categories aren’t as restrictive as the county’s. City officials expressed little interest in changing the 10-year agreement, which will go for at least another five years.
Thursday, Dec. 16, 10:30 p.m.

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