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We Don’t Need No Stinking Zones


February 15, 2012 by Steve Winkler

Applause broke out at the West Fork Council Meeting Feb. 14 when Mike Landa received a unanimous “yes” vote on his appeal of a Planning Commission denial for a rezoning of his property on McKnight Ave. from residential to commercial.

Not everybody was thrilled. His next door neighbor who thought he had made his home in a quiet neighborhood of estate homes was now living next to a commercial property complete with trailer truck traffic, swimming lessons, a playground and the ultimate noise maker, a front-yard heliport.

Some council members seemed confused by the complexity of the issue and big words being used. The city attorney mentioned “arbitrary and capricious” without explaining the meaning. He did, however, point out the can of worms they would open if they created a commercial island-zone in the residential area.

The council, however, liked the other argument that there was already commercial activity on the street. Never mind that it was there because the city hasn’t been vigilant in enforcing zoning and land use regulations.

The point that was driven home by Landa and his attorney throughout the presentation and the one that resonated with the council was that Landa “Had a Right.” Plus, it would give him a tax advantage.

With that populist one-two punch of get- the gubmet- off -my- back and beat- the- tax man the vote was 6-0 for the rezoning (council member John Foster was absent … again) Because Mayor Hime was absent due to family illness, Charlie Rossetti got to wield the gavel. He looked like a kid on Christmas morning.

As the neighbor put it, “The camel’s nose is in the tent.”

We will have a full accounting of the meeting soon, both online and in the next print edition out Feb. 23. Stay tuned.

Steve Winkler

Steve Winkler is the publisher and editor of the Observer. Email him at

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