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Roseberry Letter - 09/25/09

The recent ruling by Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson to uphold the vote of the Newton County Board of Commissioners denying a conditional use permit for an asphalt plant near the city of Oxford again validates the role of local government in land use planning. It also reinforces the idea that citizen participation can make a difference.

Hundreds of Newton County and Oxford residents signed petitions and attended Board of Commissioners meetings. Some provided expert testimony, but most were residents with no special qualification other than that they care about the community in which they live. There is little doubt that the work of these citizens had an impact on the board's decision to deny the petition.

Land use planning is one area of government that remains largely under the control of local government, and citizen input plays a critical part in balancing economic, transportation, preservation and environmental interests. We are fortunate to have citizen volunteers, professionals and elected officials working together to make comprehensive planning a reality in Newton County.

Jerry Roseberry

Mayor

City of Oxford