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What we think: Enforcing high standards serves community best

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By The Staff

We like the fact that Triple S Planning & Zoning is flexing a bit of muscle in trying to remove junky cars and substandard images of Shelby County from the gaze of our citizens and visitors.

We like that the commission is not only setting and communicating standards but also is enforcing them consistently and stringently. That’s what we expect of this commission – to preserve the best parts of our county – and enforcing the codes is equally as important as setting them.

Without one, the other becomes just paperwork.

And that’s a course for yesterday, not tomorrow.

With Shelby County and Shelbyville following Simpsonville’s lead to set new standards for planning and development in areas that traditionally might not have been zoned so appropriately, we are seeing an era of new foresight and new expectations that will serve our community.

We have complimented each on their efforts, because we dream of a day when our families and our visitors can mosey down the Main Streets of both cities, invited to do so by a carefully woven fabric of history, charming streetscape, architectural smartness and a balance of businesses and residences that reflect what we know our cities to have been and want them to be.

We want the ambience of Main Street to extend in Shelbyville and grow organically in Simpsonville, and we like what we have seen of the seeds that have been planted in that fertile soil.

The county’s role in protecting the corridors to those districts is not to be undervalued, and now we have Triple S proving it is a partner and not an adversary to these missions.

To property owners who may be at issue with these plans – and, yes, especially Gerald Butler, whose scofflaw response to prior legal efforts sets a dangerous example for property owners across the county – we challenge you to embrace these efforts, respond quickly to requests for change on your part and to recognize your role in shaping this community.

For if all these efforts are successful, this much will be true: You will be repaying a community that has supported you, and you will gain by increased value in your property for years to come.

For all of you, we suggest your loud and emphatic encouragement of Triple S and its efforts. Even though some of you neither agree with the way the commission has operated nor embrace all its decisions – and we understand your points – surely you know that its balancing act of defining the public good is perhaps the most delicate of any public entity that serves us.

Let’s take this vision of our cities and counties forward, and let’s each share this vision with one another and keep it moving in the manner of the “pay it forward” philosophy.

Let’s help our leaders as they continue to build a visionary community of the new millennium.