Thanks to The Sun for covering Polk County board meetings, especially when it comes to spot rezoning for out-of-state owner Michael Gray to open a party barn in a Town of Osceola residential neighborhood. The conditional use permit is before the Town of Osceola Jan. 12. It will be heard at the county Jan. 20.

The Dec. 24 headline said, “Tempers Flare over Zoning Issue.” Really, only one temper flared at the Dec. 15 meeting, and that was County Board Chair, Chris Nelson. He attacked Supervisor Middleton for simply asking questions on behalf of her constituents. He belittled Supervisor Prichard, who pointed out that 67 neighbors have petitioned against the proposed property use. Nelson denied conflict of interest in the matter, stating that he had “built a residence” for someone years ago. At the time, it was obvious to any passerby that it wasn’t a residence. Nelson’s overreaction suggests some strong emotion over a matter he seems anxious to brush off. Yes, Nelson should have recused himself. What does he have to hide? Why has this rezoning sped forward with so many people opposed? 

What else is contentious? A spot-zoned liquor license in a residential neighborhood, parties with unknown guest list extending to 12:30 a.m., with no documentation filed to address the problems of traffic, surface runoff, noise, compatibility with the neighborhood, community benefit, or protection of neighboring property values. Unlike beautiful Poplar Lake, this process smells mighty fishy.

MaryAnn Moenck


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