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Countywide Zoning

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Residents of Ellis County: the time for action has passed.

The need for revolution is now needed.

This newspaper is teaming up with local message forum PutTheMouthOnEm.org to bring a series of town hall meetings for the expressed purpose of abolishing our myriad countywide zoning rules and regulations.

What? You didn’t know we had zoning ordinances?

Of course not. We weren’t told about it. It was enacted in steps, or in pieces, throughout various commissioner court meetings.

Didn’t we tell our county "no to zoning" once before?

Maybe they didn’t understand 1,000 people packing our courthouse in the 90s.

Maybe they didn’t listen to the Taxpayers Alliance for Good Government when those zoning decisions gave rise to a tax revolt (the tax rollback of 2001). Property owners and homeowners alike are being forced under the Department of Development bus.

We can’t exactly blame the inspectors and administrators at the Department of Development; they’re just enforcing what our elected officials give them.

The county judge and our commissioners have the power to stem the tide of this blatant anti-property rights bonanza.

Did you know that our county’s nuisance ordinance enacted in 2000 allows for county officials to enter "any premises" in the unincorporated area to obtain compliance with these "health and safety" ordinances?

Order No. 20162 of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court on May 22, 2000: "…Prohibiting Public Nuisances in the unincorporated areas of Ellis County…"

Section 1-18. Authority to Enter Premises.

Under the authority of Section 343.024 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the Nuisance Administrator, or any other county employee under the direction of the Nuisance Administrator, may enter any premises in the unincorporated area of the county at a reasonable time to inspect and investigate an alleged public nuisance. Before entering the premises, the Nuisance Administrator or designated county employee must exhibit proper identification to the occupant, manager or appropriate person.

We know legalese. The words "…to the occupant, manager or appropriate person" are so broad that – surprise – homeowners or property owners aren’t listed.

What is an "appropriate person?"

What is an "occupant" really?

What is a manager? Manager of what?

Our county, using the Soviets’ "freedom for security" mantra, have enacted zoning ordinances on everything from redeveloping your land (150-feet of road frontage before you can subdivide) to obtaining permits to put up a storage shed, needs a quick history lesson: we had 1,000 citizens in attendance at the zoning meetings back then.

We’ll do it again.

Writing your representatives won’t work.

Revolting at the courthouse will.

Let’s take this county back one commissioner precinct and one county judge seat at a time.

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