PRINCETON — Just 90 minutes prior to a scheduled Tuesday subcommittee meeting where members of the Gibson County Advisory Plan Commission were scheduled to further explore zoning for the county, Gibson County Commissioners unanimously stopped the process.
It was the last item of business on Tuesday's board of commissioners meeting agenda, and members were pretty quiet about the decision to abandon exploration of zoning, after months of public hearings and committee meetings.
Board of Commissioners President Alan Douglas reiterated throughout the controversial process that commissioners were trying to remain neutral through the process. "We want the community to know we have been listening," he said, before Commissioner Steve Bottoms, who re-introduced the topic of zoning last summer, offered a motion to terminate the APC and immediately relieve members of their duties. The motion passed unanimously.
Bottoms followed with a motion to take no further action on Gibson County land use planning or zoning, which also passed unanimously.
And then, he offered a third motion that got unanimous support, to cancel the county's contract with Kahn, Dees, Donovan and Kahn law firm for legal advice in the process of exploring zoning.
Douglas didn't entertain any discussion on the board's vote, but county resident Cecil "Bob" Allen thanked the board for their action.
"We were listing the whole time," Douglas repeated.
Zoning has long been a controversial topic for unincorporated Gibson County. While the City of Princeton and Town of Haubstadt have zoning ordinances, the concept has been explored and dropped about every five or 10 years since the 1970s.
Although some supporters said it's necessary to achieve orderly economic development, opponents were much more vocal and organized, posting billboards and attending hearings and hiring an attorney challenging the validity of the county's 2009 comprehensive plan that was being used to explore zoning.
"It's as dead as a doornail," Bottoms confirmed after Tuesday's vote.