There are hearings … and hearings


The hearing held recently at the courthouse on the county’s form of government was a far cry from the public meetings held several years ago on zoning property according to land use.

The Blount County Commission and Judge John Dobson, who presided at the meeting, had laid down ground rules. Citizens who spoke were limited on time and could not reply to anything another speaker had said, reducing the likelihood of acrimonious words and threats of violence, both of which occurred at the zoning meetings.

So raucous did one meeting become that some were afraid to attend the one that was to follow. It was probably Blount County at its worst. The zoning meetings achieved little or nothing except, perhaps, to convince an earlier commission that the time was not ripe to consider that measure.

The question of zoning is yet to be dealt with, but it won’t go away. When enough landowners find their property sufficiently threatened by undesirable uses, they will clamor for some sort of control, and other hearings will probably follow.

If this happens, here’s hoping officials will be wise enough again to select a presider with the dignity and courtesy of Judge Dobson.

And what was revealed at the recent hearing? Those attending – more than 80 – were almost evenly divided on district vs unit systems, the existing district slightly ahead and most of the attenders lacking enough information to make meaningful choices.

– mh