Letter: Don’t put more burdens on residents
I am writing you about my concern about the proposed changes to the litter ordinance. I understand that it is within the board of supervisors’ legal rights to enact the ordinance, but just because you have the legal right to do something, doesn’t always mean that it is the right thing to do.
I, like most of the county residents, realize that this ordinance is being proposed as a means in which to expedite actions against a specific property. I understand the issues with the property and that the owner is in violation of the zoning ordinance. The county has had its day in court over the issue and it is painfully clear that the county was not pleased with the judge’s ruling. It appears that since the county did not get the ruling it wanted, it will now bypass judicial review by possibly enacting this proposed ordinance that will set the county administrator as the accuser, judge and jury. As I have stated, I know that it is completely legal by state law for the county to enact this ordinance, but I truly question if it is a proper ordinance for Mathews County.
There are also other issues that should be considered; namely, county- and state-owned properties that are in violation of this proposed ordinance. The "old boat yard" the county owns in Bohannon is definitely in direct violation of the proposed ordinance. I know the reason the property is in such poor condition is because the county’s lack of funds to perform the necessary repairs to bring this property up to a condition that would be considered safe for the public to use. Should not the board consider that if the county can’t keep its own properties up to code, how could it expect every citizen they represent to have the financial means in which to keep their properties up to code.
There are several state-owned properties, namely public dock and water access points, that would be in violation of this ordinance, too. So will the county and state be charged with notice of violation and demands to repair or remove the structures? If not, the county will truly show to all its citizens that it rules by the motto of "Do as I say, not as I do." True leadership is leading by example and that is what I hope the board will do in this matter.
Mathews County is a rural county; we will never be anything but that. The current federal and state laws have seen to that. We are not allowed to grow and develop our properties and we don’t need the county adding more burdens on property owners during these very difficult economic times.