The Tipton County BZA Bylaws and Rules and Procedures prove that since March, the board remained true to its rules and procedures, despite the manipulation tactics by others. In the juwi Wind matter, the BZA has been consistently set aside as a board that was just supposed to do what it was told when the time came. The scoundrels in this saga are those who wanted to use the BZA as a means to help juwi get an appealable decision so it could go to court.
None of juwi’s requests since March were allowable in the BZA rules, therefore no “due process” was denied. Article IV describes what matters warrant a public hearing. Juwi’s persistent requests for a “modification of conditions” hearing is not contained in that list.
Article VIII is “Final Disposition of Cases”. “Final Disposition” means the final settlement or closing of a matter. “The final disposition of an application for a conditional use shall be in the form of a Board resolution either granting with or without conditions or denying the application sought.” The findings of fact, written by county attorney John Brooke and signed by the members, is the resolution/judgment in the matter of the conditional use application by juwi. The decision was final. Juwi had 30 days in which to appeal the decision to the court. It did not.
Instead it asked the BZA to re-open the case and conduct a hearing on the conditions placed on the approval. According to Article IX, only the board can amend its rules and procedures in a regular meeting (not a public hearing) of the BZA to allow that.
On June 24, the members read in the paper that they agreed to publicly hear a request for modification of conditions from juwi, even though they never met to amend their rules. On July 31 President Acres stated the board first needed to decide if it wanted to hear a request for modification of conditions on a case that had been closed. The motion was made not to stray from the rules and included in a restatement of the motion was the phrase, “the Board will not entertain hearing any modifications to the conditions.” The motion passed.
Nevertheless, juwi asked the board on Aug. 28 to listen to a modification of the second condition, the property value guarantee proposal. Why would anyone think it was a denial of “due process” because the president refused to allow such testimony? When Acres pressed the juwi attorney whether she was going to stay only within the framework of what was advertised in the notice and not introduce anything regarding a modification of conditions, she said juwi had nothing further to discuss.
Juwi’s manipulation tactic was to get to the public hearing phase under false pretenses of presenting a proposal for a property value guarantee and then instead ask the board to eliminate such a guarantee as a condition of approval, when the board already had voted in July that it was not going to hear testimony on any modification of conditions.
The president stayed true to the rules while juwi, the plan director, and the attorney all tried to maneuver the board into giving juwi something to appeal by forcing a vote to deny its request.
The president remained firm to protect the integrity of the board by upholding its March decision as final and its July decision to not amend the rules to re-open discussion on a decided case. He is then accused of collusion, of denying due process, and is now the subject of a lynch mob to get him removed from the BZA.
Remember the principles of ethics and of decency and of right and wrong that our grandmothers taught us, and then ask what on earth has happened to this county.
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