Your Aug. 6 article about Carol Brown’s proposed “Neighborhood Notification Plan” is interesting. Her proposal will violate my rights as an individual to speak out about zonings in any part of Cobb County.
Under this proposal, it says homeowner associations must register, become approved by the board of commissioners and then become educated about the process all between the time when the yellow sign goes up in the neighborhood and the next Planning & Zoning meeting is scheduled. Even if the HOA had signed up, who will go and speak at the meetings? If you are an individual property owner, the NNP does not appear to allow you to participate unless you, as an individual, join a neighboring HOA. So your individual voice still will not be heard as the HOA will be representing you.
Ms. Brown estimates this plan will require approximately 2½ new county employees to send out notices to HOAs that will be affected by a zoning change request. She feels people aren’t able to find out any information. Who’s not able to get the information? Ask any of the many citizens that show up at the Planning and Zoning or the regular Commissioners’ meetings to briefly express their opinions.
The Commissioners meetings hear all issues, not just zoning. Only 12 people total are allowed to speak. If you don’t get your name on the list, you won’t get to speak. It’s not fair if I’ve taken a morning off work, paid a babysitter, drove a half hour to the meeting and paid $5 to park — I should be able to speak even if I was the 13th person to sign up.
The citizens that do speak at these meetings always seem to be informed and must have somehow located the information on their own. Good sources for the information include newspapers and commissioners’ newsletters that you can sign up for. Or when you see the yellow sign go up, you can go to the Planning and Zoning office to get answers to your questions. You can also join a local watchdog group (or start one yourself).
Some areas of Cobb County have multiple groups (including one run by Ms. Brown herself in northeast Cobb). These groups provide information and education about the zoning request process.
Ms. Brown seems to be searching for a problem that doesn’t exist. All the information on planning and zoning issues that one needs to be an informed citizen is currently available, currently easy to access and currently free!