Municipalities have Guidelines

By Jim Rogers, Editor, The Winnsboro News

Kudos to Winnsboro Mayor Andrea Newsome for her statement during the most recent city council meeting (see related story on page 5). Mayor Newsome stated that the city will cooperate with the Texas Environmental Quality Commission and the Texas Air Quality Control Commission as they deal with a local industrial concern. City Staff also met the morning following the council session to determine what steps they need to take inorder to facilitate properly meeting the concerns of certain citizens. Plans have to be made. Plans have to be implemented. Plans have to be followed or what’s the use in planning? 

Municipalities have guidelines mapped out in zoning for their city. Winnsboro’s zoning map (see the zoning map on the city website, Look under “Helpful Links”) clearly delineates the various zoned areas in the city. Cities also write and approve ordinances that affect the usage of land within the city. In the council sessions recently attended by this editor, the City of Winnsboro has at least two ordinances that have been referred to further discussion and planning. For any city, the constant review, revision, and implementation of ordinances is ongoing.

At one time or another, city leaders established industrial zones, commercial districts, retail zones, and residential areas for a reason. With good planning by the city fathers, those areas are zoned with certain buffers in place to protect one zone from the negative influence of the others. Without knowledge of that planning and zoning that is in place, difficulties arise. Property usage and values are major concerns for property owners, especially when they decide to develop their property or sell the property. Lifestyle concerns also become a serious matter for some who once had an ideal situation with their property but now face the invasion of development and growth. It is happening all across Texas as the population and economy of the state is quickly expanding for various reasons.

Traffic patterns, including access by certain types of vehicles, are often considered as those zones are established. Parking is also influenced by zoning and ordinance. Few desire a heavy traffic flow in their residential neighborhood and for various reasons some refuse the extra steps from parked auto to storefront entrance brought about by specific pedestrian only areas. The usage of common areas within the city is also a concern for many and affects the daily life of some.

Not every citizen will be pleased with the decisions made regarding zoning or ordinances that speak to the usage of space. Regretfully, many do not consider zoning when choosing the location of housing or business. That always leads to difficulties for both the individual and the city. Some citizens desire to retain present usage of certain areas and resist changes that produce the greater effect on the economy and lifestyle of the city and its future.

Unless there is a long term plan for city planning and zoning there will be moments in which city staff will be sent to the drawing board to attempt to find the sometimes elusive answers to specific questions that many will call problems. However, every city needs a plan and the effective implementation of that plan. Every plan needs the support of its governing board but more the plan must be one that provides safe, enjoyable, and creative ways to build the type of community that attracts and sustains a better life.

The only way that can be accomplished is for the eligible voter to participate in electing those who have vision, compassion, and wisdom. An illusive trio for many who run for office but when it is found, the citizens will rejoice in a well thought out venue for life. Merry Christmas! I’m thankful God had a plan, implemented that plan, and the rule of His Kingdom is in a Savior’s hands.