Zoning is good for Vidor, or any city
Vidor city officials are moving forward with long-discussed plans to bring zoning to their city. They should continue on this path even though it will inevitably mean conflicts with some property owners. The positives far outweigh the negatives, for current and future residents.
In most cities this isn’t a problem because zoning of some form is in effect from the start. People and businesses start off with the understanding that certain types of construction or property uses are OK in one place but not another. They build or remodel accordingly.
A few cities like Vidor, however, didn’t start out with zoning. But over the years, the need for it has become apparent. It protects the property values of homeowners — the backbone of any city — and ensures that industrial or commercial enterprises are grouped together, which is better for them too.
Vidor officials were moving in this direction but their plans were put off by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. They’re back on track now and hope to have zoning in place by 2020. Public hearings will be held — as they should — and Vidor residents should take advantage of these opportunities. The city already has guidelines for manufactured homes, which can now be placed only on Mission Street and Walden Road or an established manufactured home park.
City Manager Mike Kunst made a key point about the entire process: “(Zoning) doesn’t prohibit things from coming to the city, but it’s putting them in the right place.”
That’s fair and logical, but of course someone somewhere will object. The city’s guidelines should be as reasonable as possible, but when these conflicts arise, they should remain firm. Some developers will be much more inclined to make a major investment in a city where they don’t have to fear unpleasant surprises later on.
The bottom line is that anyone who doesn’t like the zoning rules in Vidor or any city can go to a rural location, where construction standards are more flexible. That’s fair to them and city residents who don’t want, say, a chicken coop next door. There’s nothing wrong with chickens per se, but they fit in a lot better out in the country.
Vidor has been growing steadily in recent years and has a good future. Good things are happening there now, and several more encouraging projects are on the horizon too. Zoning complements this progress. The City Council should make it happen.