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Chatham Commissioners make planning board changes

Posted Monday, February 5, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Board of Commissioners amended the ordinance that established the Planning Board at their meeting today. The amended ordinance allows the Commissioners to replace current Board members and it changes the terms of office for Planning Board members so that they will run concurrent with the terms of the Commissioners.

This has the effect that appointees nominated by Commissioners Thompson, Lucier and Vanderbeck will have four year terms while those nominated by Commissioners Cross and Barnes will have two year terms. After the initial round of appointments, all terms will be for four years. Therefore, appointments will be staggered so that new appointments will be made to the Planning Board every two years.

In addition, the Commissioners established that the Planning Board will be comprised of 11 members. The 11th member will be selected by the full Board of Commissioners for a term of four years.

The decision to amend the Planning Board Ordinance was based on the Board of Commissioners’ intent to:

1. Implement the Land Conservation and Development Plan,

2. Have the Planning Board engage in public education on planning and zoning issues,

3. Develop effective interactions with municipal governments in Chatham County as well as neighboring governments on planning and zoning issues and

4. Prepare an annual report of accomplishments, goals and priorities of the Planning Board.

These elements along with others are explicit responsibilities that were assigned to the Planning Board in the ordinance that established it. However, the former Planning Board had a different philosophy. Therefore, the Board of Commissioners felt it necessary to make substantial changes in the membership of the Planning Board. Moreover, the Commissioners need to rely heavily on the recommendations of the Planning Board so they need to have a Planning Board in place that shares their stated intent to implement the Land Use Plan and to revise it, if necessary.

The Commissioners recognized and expressed their appreciation for the public service of the former Planning Board members. The fact that they had a different view of their responsibilities should not detract from their service and dedication to Chatham County.

Effective today the new Planning Board is comprised of the following members:
Chris Walker--- Barnes
Sally Kost-------- Barnes
Evelyn Cross---- Cross
Clyde Harris---- Cross
Barbara Ford----Lucier
David Klarman—Lucier
Karl Ernst---------Vanderbeck
Judy Sharman----Vanderbeck
Delcenia Turner--Thompson
Jim Hinkley-------Thompson
Warren Glick------Full Board

The Board of Commissioners expects the Planning Board to:

1. Provide rigorous review of applications for development and conditional zoning in relation to the lawfully established ordinances and zoning regulations of Chatham County.

2. Be consistent with the vision of the Land Conservation and Development Plan and to apply the principles contained in it

3. Propose revisions to the Land Use Plan when necessary in order to address changing conditions in Chatham County.

4. Propose new and amended ordinances based on the Land Conservation and Development Plan

5. Work with Siler City, Pittsboro, Goldston and with neighboring governments to seek common solutions to regional problems and issues.

6. Communicate effectively with the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and the citizens of Chatham County on planning and zoning issues including the development of strategies for enhancing public dialogue.

7. Prepare reports to the Board of Commissioners stating the reasons for Planning Board recommendations considered major and/or controversial.

Some Current Board of Commissioner Priorities on Planning and Zoning

1. Enactment of amendments to the Watershed Ordinance to increase protection of the rivers and streams that are essential to the future of Chatham County

2. Review and recommend revisions to the process for receiving public comment on planning and zoning issues to insure that all voices are heard and considered.

3. Enact a Lighting Ordinance that recognizes yet protects against the consequences of our explosive growth.

4. Propose amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance consistent with our growth and the challenges associated with that growth.

5. Work with the Major Corridor Ordinance Task Force and the Economic Development Corporation to stimulate economic development in Chatham County.

6. Work with the Environmental Review Board (yet to be established) and the Green Building Task Force to insure that residential and economic growth is accomplished in harmony with our natural resources.

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