Columbus may reverse controversial decision to split planning board
Published 1:09 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Columbus Town Council appears ready to reverse a decision that ignited a heated dispute with the towns former planning board.
Town council last year appointed the planning board members to a newly created zoning board and then advertised for new members to its planning board. The decision followed disagreements between town council and the planning board.
Now, the current town council, which includes some members of the former planning board, appears ready to reverse that decision. Town council decided last Thursday to set a public hearing to consider combining the planning and zoning duties again on one board.
The towns planning board requested the combination during its February meeting, saying that the town has been advertising for a number of months for volunteers to its planning board and has only had one submission.
Two seats will need to be filled in March as well as two alternate positions.
The planning board said the towns zoning board of adjustments does not meet enough to necessitate two boards.
Membership is also down because the zoning board lost former members Eric McIntyre and Ernie Kan. McIntyre was elected mayor and Kan was elected to town council last fall. Both McIntyre and Kan, who previously served on the planning board and then the newly created zoning board, were critical of the decision to split the board.
The new planning board struggled to have quorums in the first few months and now is struggling to keep a full board after only three members will be left following Bonnie Tillmans term expiring in March. Tillman is not reapplying for a second term.
“With such a small pool of volunteers for either board, the planning board does not feel that having two boards is efficient for the town,” states town planner Melanie Sand in a recommendation to town council.
The public hearing on March 25 will begin at 7 p.m. for council to consider combining the boards. The Town of Tryon recently combined its planning and zoning boards after being separate boards for many years.