Our Confusing Laws
Rep. Cooper's bill only mentions a vote of the people in conjunction with planning initiated by a petition. His bill creates a group of new sections (64.1000 to 64.1042) in the Missouri Revised Statutes. However, the bill does not repeal any existing sections, such as 64.530 which requires a vote for any planning or zoning. His bill appears to provide a lot more detail than does existing law on what a county planning commission may do. Also, current law allows planning/zoning commission members to be appointed rather than elected (which I think is a change from what existed back in 1997, when we fought the issue here).
I apologize to Rep. Cooper (and the other sponsors) if I misrepresented his position. However, it's pretty easy to see why I read the bill as I did. Here's what the key part says:
64.1006. 1. A planning commission may be established by the procedures provided in subsection 2 or 3 of this section.
2. Any county in this state may make, adopt, amend, and carry out a county plan and any county commission may establish and appoint a planning commission with the powers and duties as set forth in sections 64.1000 to 64.1042.
3. Any group of registered voters from any county not having a planning commission may circulate a petition for the formation of a planning commission. (this part goes on to give details and require a vote to set up a planning commission).
Our legislators should recognize that, like eminent domain, planning and zoning is an emotional property rights issue out here in the countryside. I'd suggest clarifying this bill before it goes any further to make it absolutely clear that a a public vote is required if a county commission initiates zoning under para 64-1002 described above. Even if Rep. Cooper and the other rural sponsors don't intend that planning & zoning be shoved down our throats, many supporters of P&Z do.