Recently, in another publication, an individual wrote that citizens need to communicate more with their elected officials. I could not agree more, and I invite all of you to get involved in some way:
Come to town council meetings;
Get involved in a town committee;
Attend a citizens academy;
Meet with or e-mail your local council members;
Volunteer in some capacity.
There are a plethora of ways you can get involved in our local community, and it is encouraged. We appreciate the diversity our citizens bring to the conversation and we recognize that we represent you. The council is truly trying to serve the will of our community, but sometimes it can be a quiet endeavor, so please get involved and let us know what you are thinking.
Being involved also helps to dispel some of the innumerable rumors with which we are constantly battling. We are a small community and we have not matured overnight. People seem more willing to believe in the rumors and half-truths than learn what our challenges are. Information obtained from social media is not always accurate, yet it may be repeated over and over, gaining a life of its own.
One misconception is that economic development equals unbridled growth. Every community needs some level of growth in order to sustain itself, and growth can be managed at some level and is healthy at many levels.
Chino Valley has recognized that many of its youngsters graduate from high school and move on to other areas to find employment. We lose some of the best from our community because of a lack of opportunity. We are making a conscious effort to try to change that dynamic with our business park and the hope of bringing jobs to our community. This will equal some growth, but a growth we think is healthy and important for our future well-being.
To support a future workforce will also be the need for housing and additional retail and other services. Some people see the combination of these things and a meltdown begins. Most communities in our area are struggling with this no-growth mentality, and often our citizens do not understand the role that their local government plays in relation to private development and private property rights.
Zoning, in itself, allows certain land uses simply by right, and every piece of property has some type of zoning, therefore every property has some rights for development. All rezones are done through a public process, and we encourage the public to participate. Most municipalities have a Planning and Zoning Commission that initially hears the potential development and rezone proposals and makes recommendations to the local council. The Planning and Zoning Commission is a recommending body, and it generally works through many of the development details before a formal recommendation is made to the council for a vote. Neighborhood meetings, public hearings and regular agenda items are all a part of the process and provide the opportunity for the public to voice concerns, encouragement and suggestions.
Ultimately, land use decisions become the responsibility of your elected officials, but we appreciate hearing from our constituents. We, too, care about doing what is best for our community and we all come with different cards in our deck from which to make our decisions. Having a healthy discussion and considering all the opinions before we vote is important. Please get involved! QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft is in his second year as mayor and previously was a council member.