Some Monroe County residents raised questions June 17 about proposed rules that would affect the most rural parts of the county.
The rules would apply to areas more than two miles from Bloomington. They would not affect smaller communities like Ellettsville or Stinesville.
The County Plan Commission is seeking to simplify its rural zoning rules by establishing just two zones instead of the current 20. But resident Steven Cordell said that approach might have been counterproductive.
“You’re taking something that was too complicated and making it overly simplified,” Cordell says. “I think that might be a big over-correction.”
Cordell’s complaints with the proposed rules focused largely on restrictions that would keep residents from subdividing their land into lots of relatively small parcels. Commission members have said the County can’t support the infrastructure required by those kinds of typically residential developments.
Other residents, like Steve Smith, asked why the rules restrict rural businesses from developing.
“The existing businesses have been there a long time with the zoning code changing around them,” Smith says. “This would blanket change everything, and when they become pre-existing, non-conforming, that’s like saying ‘we don’t want you.’”
Commission members said they are waiting to develop some rules for businesses. Commission member Julie Thomas said consultant is still working on rules governing the Bloomington Urbanizing Area, which is the two miles of County land surrounding the city. Thomas said those regulations would affect the rural zoning rules.