The average planning and zoning meeting consists of the planning and zoning commissioners, a room, and very little else.
They are often dry meetings dealing with rules and regulations for business and home licensing, property lines, and nuisance ordinances.
So when the Borough of Kodiak, AK (Pop. 13,600) chose to attempt to entirely revamp the zoning code and place greater restrictions on property owners, including a $1,000 fine per violation, they expected there to be little opposition, and little knowledge of the change. Instead, the Solutions Institute assisted local resident Jamie Fagan, and he along with a team of people rallied over 300 residents to attend the meeting.
Even though many residents could not attend due to flooded roads and driving rain, there were over 69 speeches, nearly all in opposition to the new code, totaling over 4 hours of testimony against it (The first hour was deleted, but we have a copy here). The zoning code in question, drafted by Bob Pederson, enforces many of the suggestions of the United Nations’ 1992 “Agenda 21” treaty, including making it easier for local officials to seize private property. Jamie was excited to have some assistance defending his home: “I can’t thank the Solutions Institute enough.
From helping us to choose an appropriate name for our organization to setting up Facebook groups, editing videos, to helping in ways that one might describe as “unorthodox” but are breathtakingly effective, it really is a joy to work with these guys and there is no doubt in my mind that our group would not have been nearly as effective without their help.” Though the code has not been defeated yet, Jamie has no doubt that with the amount of people who came out to try and stop it, it is only a matter of time before the new code is scrapped.
While SI does not take a position on the issue, we were pleased to help get more citizens involved in their local governance, and happy to help ensure that the new zoning regulations faced the public debate and transparency that are the hallmarks of a free society.
The Solutions Institute is a collection of activists and professionals from across the political spectrum, and we are always looking for new projects.
Submit yours here: http://solutions-institute.org/get-help/