On Dec. 22, I filed a protest petition on the rezoning of my property on old U.S. 50 with the City of Ottawa. At the time, I was advised I would be notified when it was going to be before the city commission and voted on, so I could address the commission with my concerns. On Jan. 7, I received a letter from the City of Ottawa stating that on Jan. 10 my property would be rezoned when the publication of the ordinance was published in The Herald.

Now how much notice is that? The city didn’t even let me have a hearing! Is it because they are breaking their own interlocal agreement with the county? And then I found out through research that it might be because of the past — Could it be the city wants to get even?

Headlines in the Jan. 3 Herald read: “City: Interlocal rules don’t equal annexation” and “It could all be a misunderstanding, city officials say.” The article then goes on to say that they passed the ordinance in 2006 with the approval of both city and county commissions. It gives the city authority over zoning of subdivisions and building codes in the Urban Growth Area.

Here’s the kicker: The newspaper and the city didn’t say a word about the county’s input. I can quote right from the interlocal agreement, which was signed by both parties and the Kansas Secretary of State. It reads, “Zoning regulations first adopted by the city of application in the UGA shall not take effect unless and until first approved by a majority vote of the county commission.”

Now, who enforces this? The city has been in violation of this since they started. Who charges them with violating this ordinance? The county is in the same shoes. They should have stopped it a long time ago.

Now that I’m the bad guy and have filed a protest, the county and the city had a meeting Monday and City Attorney Bob Bezek and City Planner Wynndee Lee were trying to convince the county how nobody complained about it except Butch Riddle. The reason people don’t stand up is because of the way they treated me on my protest. They ignore you, hoping you go away. And most people do. Well, I’m here to stay. One way or another.

Here is what I would like everyone who is against the urban growth area to do: If we stand as a group and stand our ground as taxpayers and property owners in Franklin County, I believe we can beat this so the city can’t tell us what we can or cannot do outside the city limits.

Attend the Franklin County Board of Commissioners’ special meeting 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at county commission meeting room in the Franklin County Office Annex, 1428 S. Main St., Ottawa. This meeting is just for the interlocal agreement ordinance. Our commissioners realize it won’t work now and want input at this meeting. Mark it down to be there. I know the city will be there in full force.

I have gotten it this far by myself, but now I need help. Show up, voice your concerns and let’s take the county back and kick the city out. See you 7 p.m. on Jan. 23.

— Butch Riddle, Ottawa