Tryon combines planning and zoning boards

Published 2:41 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

The Town of Tryon has decided to combine its planning board and its zoning board, stating it is difficult to have enough members at a meeting for a quorum and zoning issues in the town are infrequent.

Tryon Town Council approved Tuesday combining the two boards. The change will be&bsp; effective Oct. 18 to give the town time to advertise and assign members to a board of planning and adjustment.

The seven-member board&bsp; and two alternates will consist of four town residents and three members from the town&squo;s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ). One alternate each will be from inside city limits and the town&squo;s ETJ.

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Erin Burris of Benchmark CMR Services, which provided planning services for Tryon, said both boards agreed that combining is in the town&squo;s best interest.

The town&squo;s zoning board has been meeting only two to three times per year, Burris said, and it has been difficult to schedule those meetings to have a quorum. She mentioned that the infrequency of zoning board meetings is a good thing, meaning that the town&squo;s zoning ordinance must be adequately addressing the town&squo;s needs.

Burris attended her last Tryon town council meeting Tuesday. The town recently partnered with The Town of Columbus to share a planner. The new Columbus/Tryon planner, Melanie Sand, was introduced to council Tuesday. She began working with the towns about two weeks ago. Sand will be working with Tryon on Mondays and Tuesdays and with Columbus Wednesday through Fridays. She replaces former planner Daniel Hallstrom in Columbus.

The town presented Burris a proclamation in recognition of her work on planning issues for Tryon.

Columbus recently did the opposite with its planning and zoning boards, splitting them into two separate boards after previously having one combined board for many years. The town&39;s former planning board became the new zoning board, and the town appointed a new planning board. Columbus has since had trouble getting enough planning board members to attend meetings for a quorum.

There have been no zoning board of adjustment matters since the town split its two boards.

Tryon plans to advertise for its new combined planning and zoning board and will offer current members from each board the opportunity to re-apply. Polk County commissioners will review ETJ applications and appoint three members and Tryon will appoint four inside city limit members.

Tryon also agreed to get necessary training for the new board because of the more formal quasi-judicial requirements for board of adjustment hearings, which are required when ruling on issues such as variance requests.