When the public talks, commissioners listen

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
ljenkins@starhq.com
As the anticipated Oct. 20 Carter County Commission meeting quickly approaches, commissioners are preparing to hear from citizens they represent to decide what vote they will cast on countywide zoning.
Public hearings will be held in various districts in order for commissioners to hear the public's opinions about the controversial matter. On Oct. 18, commissioners of the 6th district will hold what Commissioner John Lewis calls a "little town hall meeting" at Hampton Elementary School at 4 p.m.
"The decision should be left up to countywide citizens. They are the ones who vote us in and pay the taxes," said Lewis.
Lewis invited residents from Elk Mills, Poga, Hampton and the Valley Forge areas to come voice their opinions on zoning the 6th district. He also welcomed all Carter Countians, planning commission officials and commissioners to the meeting.
Lewis stated his vote on the item will be decided when he hears what the majority of his district wants. "We have to do what the people want. The decision ought to be left up to the people."
Sixth District Commissioner John D. Snyder said, "Zoning doesn't matter to me one way or another. I'll get my feedback from the public hearing, and that's the way that I am going to vote."
Snyder agreed with the idea of a public hearing, and said, "I think we should have a public hearing more often."
Another public hearing will be held at Cloudland Elementary for 2nd district residents. The meeting will be Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.
County Mayor Dale Fair commented on the public meetings by saying, "I think it is good. We want to know what the public wants...I like to hear both sides."
Presently only three districts are not zoned in Carter County: the 2nd, 4th and 6th districts.