Although Cody’s Planning & Zoning board and building inspector relented Tuesday and gave full permission to the Cody bus barn occupancy, the board’s actions shone a light on the need for examining the power those unelected officials wield.
While the bus barn contractors had completed their work and the fire marshal had approved occupancy of the building, the school district was prevented from full occupancy by the city building inspector and P&Z for three incredibly minor issues.
The issues of concern were the shortage of flower planters on the north side of the building, an issue with decorative siding and the fact the asphalt driveway was five feet short.
Those were the only stated reasons for holding up the school district’s ability to use the completed facility and prohibiting the district from pursuing the sale of the old bus barn.
The main changes the school district is required to make is an amended site plan – a key feature is moving more vegetation to the north side to break up the wall and help the view from future homes in the neighboring subdivision – and finish the paving.
We aren’t privy to the real reasons, but we suspect P&Z wants to make certain it keeps hold of the power it has been granted.
It laid down rules and it is going to enforce them even if they are silly.
If the board relents, it has diminished its control and power.
Certainly there is a need for Planning and Zoning. That cannot be overstated. No reasonable person would say allow anything.
The issue is how much control should unelected officials have in the process.
Last December, the Cody City Council began taking a half-hearted look at Planning and Zoning and the power it has been granted.
It is our belief too much control has been given to unelected officials.
In our opinion, the city council should establish a set of building regulations which should be reviewed every few years. Then the P&Z and building inspector would enforce those rules and not make up their own stipulations on an individual basis. Plus a little give-and-take and a little common sense would go a long way.
Contractors and property owners need to know the rules beforehand.
We hope the city can improve the planning process. It needs a hard look.