To protect the city — or to meddle

Italy needs to decide if they want businesses in town or just certain homes. The last P & Z meeting illustrates the point. Today, if a business person wants to open a facility in Italy they have to beg. It looked like that might change in the last P & Z meeting, right up until someone says we must add the phrase with special use permit.

What does that mean? It means that even though the land is zoned commercial a buyer must have a special use permit for any business they decide to place there. It means if you have a clothing factory and it has problems and you need to sell the property to someone else — say to put in a car wash — you will have to go to the same hoop jumping to get a special use permit. Which means you can suddenly be fighting any other similar businesses in town to get that permit.

Or what if you want to change it to a restaurant? You not only have to find a buyer for your new business, you have to go through “Mother may I” to operate it.

Freedom is the reason we have zoning. We all agree that 77 should be for businesses. Now lets give the owners of the land the freedom to put in the businesses that qualify for that zoning. If we tack on with special use permit the freedom is severely compromised. Competitors can be kept out. We need those competitors.

We need to encourage people to set up businesses in Italy, not to drive them away. If this simple phrase get a special use permit is added to this commercial enterprise or any other business the value of the property is severely compromised. If I am the owner, I know I may not make it as a business and have to sell the property or go bankrupt. If I know that the new buyer has to jump through the hoops to get another special use permit, I know that the property is not worth nearly as much as if I can sell it to a buyer for any commercial enterprise so listed for that commercial zoning. Remember the new business has to be appropriate for the zoning.

A commercial business moving to Italy has to ask. Can I make it financially? Is there enough buyers of my product? Can I get the right help? Can I afford being away from the big city? And many more questions.

We are seeing a business leaving Italy right now. He has to try and sell his property. Can you imagine how much harder it would be for him to salvage part of his investment if he can not readily sell with out having to go to beg for a new special use permit. Fortunately his is on main street and is already zoned commercial without the need for a special use permit.

Italy has enough questions without adding more hurdles and hoops. Please drop the tag ending and let free enterprise have its best shot at being successful.

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