SCS/SB 193 - This act creates the Missouri County Planning Act. Nothing in this act shall affect the existence or validity of a county ordinance or order adopted prior to August 28, 2007.
ESTABLISHMENT, POWERS, AND OPERATION OF PLANNING COMMISSIONS
This act allows any county to create, adopt, amend, and carry out a county plan. Any county commission may establish and appoint a planning commission.
If a specified percentage of voters sign a petition to form a planning commission, the election authority shall place the question before the voters on the ballot. This act contains petition and ballot language. If the voters approve the formation of a commission, one shall be formed and have the same rights as other planning commissions.
The county commission shall appoint members to the planning commission, and shall, by resolution, ordinance, or order, establish the procedures for membership, compensation, terms, vacancies, and removal. Once formed, the commission shall elect officers and adopt rules.
The planning commission shall have various powers, including preparing and reviewing comprehensive plans, recommending regulations, reviewing plat applications, public improvements for accordance with the comprehensive plan, and zoning regulations, appointing employees, other powers delegated to it by the county commission.
The purpose of a comprehensive plan is to guide and accomplish the coordinated, efficient, and orderly physical development of the county. The planning commission may determine the applicability to the county of certain elements, such as land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, economic development, natural, cultural, or historical resources, human services, community design, and sustainabilty. The comprehensive plan developed by the commission may contain policies regarding any of these elements.
During the process of developing a plan, the commission shall accept and consider public comments. The commission must provide public notice and hold at least one public hearing prior to adopting a plan. The planning commission by a majority vote may adopt a comprehensive plan as a whole by a single resolution. The commission may also adopt portions of the plan at different times.
Upon adoption, the plan must be properly filed. A record of the public involvement must be attached to the resolution approving the plan. The plan may be adopted by the county commission by resolution. The planning commission may periodically review and amend the comprehensive plan. Amendments to the plan may be prepared at any time.
Under this act, the planning commission may recommend, and the county commission may adopt, regulations governing the subdivision of land. In lieu of immediate installation of work required by the regulations, the commission may, at the option of the developer, accept an escrow secured with cash or an irrevocable letter of credit or a surety bond, which provides for the construction of such improvements within a certain period of time.
If a developer transfers title of the subdivision property prior to full release of the escrow or bond, the county shall accept a replacement escrow or bond from the successor developer and release the original developer from further obligations. The county shall release any escrow or bond held to secure actual construction on a category of improvements or utilities within 30 days of completion. The county must inspect each category for completion within 20 business days after a request to do so. If the county does not release the escrow or bond in the time permitted, the county shall pay the owner or developer the funds due plus interest. Any developer aggrieved by the county's failure to meet these requirements may bring a civil action to enforce these requirements.
Before adopting or amending subdivision regulations, the planning commission must provide notice and hold a public hearing. A county commission may hold a public hearing, but no separate hearing is required for the adoption of subdivision regulations by the county commission after receiving the planning commission?s recommendation.
After subdivision regulations are adopted, no subdivision plat shall be recorded until it is approved by the planning commission, unless the commission does not act within 30 days. The county commission may overrule the rejection of a plat by the planning commission after a public hearing. Any municipality may protest the action of the planning commission and further action must be taken by the county commission. At the request of a municipality, a planning commission may subject subdivision plats to its regulations.
The planning commission, after a hearing, may vacate any plat of a subdivision of land.
REVIEW OF PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS
After a planning commission adopts a comprehensive plan, no street, public improvement, or public utility may be constructed in a location within the plan, without approval by the commission. The act outlines a procedure for the aggrieved party to follow if the commission does not approve the construction.
MAJOR STREET PLAN
A planning commission may adopt a major street plan for all areas of the county in accordance with the transportation element of a comprehensive plan. The county may by ordinance establish building lines on any public street identified in the street plan.
A planning commission may recommend, and the county commission may adopt, zoning regulations. Prior to adopting zoning regulations, the county commission shall submit the question of whether it should adopt such regulations to the voters. The act describes what the zoning regulations may include and what they may regulate. The regulations must define the boundaries of zoning districts or other areas where the regulations differ from one another. One appointed person shall be responsible for interpreting the zoning ordinances.
Under this act, farm buildings and farm structures that are not designated as flood plains are exempt from zoning regulations.
After recommendations from the planning commission, the county commission may adopt the regulations.
The planning commission must provide notice and shall hold a public hearing on proposed zoning regulations. The act provides how the commission shall approve recommendations and the procedure of the county commission when either approving or overruling the commission?s recommendations.
The county commission or planning commission may make changes to the regulations or boundaries of zoning districts in accordance with the comprehensive plan. A procedure is established for amending such regulations.
BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENT
Any county commission, which has adopted a zoning map and regulations, shall appoint a county board of zoning adjustment. The board shall consist of 5 residents with not more than 2 being residents of incorporated areas. After the initial members having staggered terms, the members shall serve four-year terms.
The board shall have the following powers and it shall be its duty to:
1) hear and decide appeals about errors of law or any determination made by officials regarding zoning regulations;
2) hear and decide matters referred to it or matters it is required to determine under the zoning regulations; and
3) authorize a variance from the strict application of a regulation when it causes a property owner to endure an unreasonable hardship.
The board shall elect a chair and adopt rules of procedure. Meetings of the board shall be open to the public. This act outlines who may bring appeals and when such appeals may be brought before the board. With limited exceptions, an appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the board may petition the circuit court for relief.
VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES
Any violation of any regulation adopted under the authority of this act shall be a misdemeanor with each day of the offense considered a separate offense. Any county commission that has appointed a county counselor may impose a civil fine for each violation under this act. The fines will be payable to the county general revenue fund and go towards paying the costs of enforcing this act. The county, county commission, planning commission, or any property owner whose property is affected, may bring an action to enforce the regulations.
No land owner within a platting jurisdiction of a county that has adopted subdivision regulations may transfer such land before the plat has been approved by the county commission or planning commission and properly recorded. Each improper transfer is a violation and may be enjoined by the county.
The county may designate a zoning inspector to examine and serve violation orders. The act sets out the penalties for persons who refuse to comply with such orders.
Counties may enter into agreements with other public or private organizations, agencies, or bodies to perform planning duties and functions and adopt plans prepared pursuant to cooperative agreements. The county commission may adopt regulations created pursuant to such agreements.
This act is similar to SB 1160 (2006) & HB 487 (2007).
SUSAN HENDERSON MOORE