Tryon to petition state to amend charter

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

Change includes switch to joint planning/zoning board

The Town of Tryon will be petitioning the N.C. General Assembly to amend the town charter due to the town’s practices concerning its planning and zoning board not matching the charter.

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Dec. 18 and approved petitioning the state for the change. Commissioner George Baker voted against the motion saying he doesn’t agree with the town having a joint planning and zoning board.

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The town’s charter currently states that the town has a planning board and a zoning board of adjustment. The amended charter will say the town has a board of planning and adjustment and also change the board from a 10-member board to its current 7-member board.

“I do not now or have ever agreed with combining the boards,” said commissioner Baker.

Town attorney Bailey Nager explained that when the board is a planning board, it acts as an advisory board and when the board is the board of adjustment it acts in a quasi-judicial function.

“I just don’t like it,” Baker said. “Switching hats in a meeting confuses me.”

Tryon decided to combine the boards in 2009 after experiencing difficulty in finding volunteers for two separate boards. The zoning board of adjustment hears appeals and variances to ordinances, which is rare.

The town is also asking the state to change its charter for it to read that the town clerk report to the board of commissioners instead of the town manager.