Gibson County Commissioners vote to repeal zoning ordinance

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GIBSON COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT)– Zoning may be a thing of the past once again in Gibson County. Two county commissioners, who ran on a promise to repeal the recently enacted county-wide zoning ordinance, voted two to one to do just that, but one county commissioner was not onboard.

“I am not happy at all,” said Commissioner Mary Key. She is the only county commissioner to vote against repealing county-wide zoning in Gibson County. “We did things according to how they were supposed to be done.”

Key worked to help pass the zoning ordinance, but two of the former commissioners were voted out of office. She thinks Gibson County needs zoning to protect citizens, but newly elected commissioners Ken Montgomery and Warren Fleetwood disagree.

“I think the biggest concern throughout all of this was property rights more so than the doppler or any other issue,” said Fleetwood. Who is now the new of Gibson County Commissioner President.

Some concerned community members protested against zoning and even filed a lawsuit accusing Gibson County Commissioners and the County Advisory Commission of not following proper procedures when passing the original ordinance.

“Gibson County throughout history has maintained their sovereignty and opposed zoning,” Fleetwood explain the County experienced a similar situation in the 1970’s.

Fleetwood and Montgomery’s outlook on zoning is a big reason why they were elected and why the county commission voted to have a county wide licensing agreement instead of a zoning ordinance.

The only time a license would be needed is to put up solar panels and wind turbines. Commissioner Fleetwood said repealing zoning is aimed at preventing community members from needing to jump through hoops when it comes to building on their property. “I like to think we are just keeping the wishes of our forefathers alive and fighting for our rights.”

The county zoning ordinance isn’t officially repealed. The advisory planning commission will need to take a look at the plan, and will have two months to propose any changes.

If the licensing agreement gets final approval, towns in Gibson County who already had a zoning ordinance, will still have to abide by their zoning laws.

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(This story was originally published on January 5, 2021)

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