Saturday, October 06, 2007

Planning decisions and their consequences

Ronald (Bo) Ward, from Clarksville, Tennessee and owner of Bo's Barber Shop, submitted an application to amend the Zoning Ordinance and Map of the City of Clarksville, for a zone change on a property at Madison Street and Liberty Parkway from R-1 Single Family Residential District to C-2 General Commercial District (Ordinance 29-2007-08).

Ward told Council that his business would go under if he could not have his home rezoned as commercial. Ward said the rezoning would increase his property value, allowing him to secure a loan to offset debt he incurred when he expanded his shop.

This application passed first reading on September 6, 2007. On October 1, 2007, the item was before Council for second reading. Council members voted to deny the second reading. This meant that Ward's application was unsuccessful. After the vote, Ward stood, walked toward the council members, told them that he was 'done' and 'out of here' and shot himself in the head with a small handgun.

This is a stark reminder of outcome of planning matters can really affect the way people live their lives. Choices that planners make, at any level, will naturally have consequences. This could hypothetically mean that a house(s) might not be built as originally designed, or that a land use(s) is not permitted (or vice versa). That said, these consequences usually do not result in people shooting themselves in the head.

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