Special interests stepped in on RV park issue

I attended a planning commission meeting on Aug. 20 over an issue that has been before them for more than a decade. Keith Thomas has been attempting get a variance for land he owns in the south side of town to place four RVs on. At a previous meeting a lady spoke and said that one of the out of town engineers that was working here had been arrested for sexual assault and “…we don’t want those kind of people here,” as an excuse not to grant Thomas a variance. Seriously? That argument makes about as much sense as blaming all white Democrats for the KKK or all Catholics for the priest abuses. Unfortunately it also shows the puffed up self importance mentality of those who oppose the variance. At the meeting it was argued that the college and Marietta Memorial Hospital had put a lot of work into their new buildings and that those RVs would diminish their efforts and wouldn’t fit into what they were attempting to accomplish there. After all, they have spent a lot of money expanding their facilities. That’s true, but then they’ve also made a lot of money from those expansions. When I pointed out that Marietta has not grown in population in 40 years, mostly due to the unfriendly attitude toward those want to start a new business, several people chimed up and said they were new residents. Well welcomed! I hope you like our community but while you were moving in other residents were leaving. Marietta had over 21,000 residents at the turn of the 20th century but it’s been downhill ever since and has lost 3.4% in population since 2000 alone and currently is at 14,053. The argument was made that allowing those four RVs would affect property values. Funny, that argument has never worked for the residents who in the past opposed expansions in their own neighborhoods. Michael McCauley had it right, the zoning for that area addressed fixed buildings only and the RVs were not included in that and therefore should not be restricted. Sort of like the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So by not specifically addressing RV’s when they rezoned that area of the south side, they can not now turn around and attempt to restrict the use of private land for RV use. Randall Barengo complained about looking out his office building windows and having to see those RVs. The only problem with that is Barengo no longer has a business in that building. So what are we left with here? Well to my point of view what we are left is the planning commission has chosen to place those with the right names and the right amount of money above the common man of this town … again. All I can say to those of my political party who voted nay and sided with special interests over Thomas’ right to legally do as he wishes with his land in an area zoned for commercial use, do not ever ask me to support or vote for you again. I would encourage Thomas to do as Clyde Huddleston was forced to do when he was denied his variance by the panning commission for the RV parking he requested and that is to file with the attorney general, who backed Huddleston’s right to do so. Apparently the special interests in this town haven’t been able to reach into the state capital and corrupt it. I am sorry that the same apparently can not be said about Marietta.

Dianne Crandall