At last Wednesday's Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Special Called meeting there was discussion and appointments of the Board of Land Use Appeals.
When it came to discussing the member appointments, Post 1 Commissioner Dallas Miller had some related comments to make. Miller made comment to the fact that Gilmer County has at least 4 different groups of people that deal with land use, planning and zoning, and permits with twenty people serving. Of those twenty, only three are elected officials. Based on that idea, Miller objected to the Board of Land Use Appeals appointments. In a follow up conversation with FYN, Miller explained that the members serving on other boards are not as accountable because they are not elected officials. He also explained that there are just too many boards that do the same function and the organizational structure needs to be simplified.
Without the appointments, the current work of the Land Use Appeals Board could not move forward and the BOC did not feel this was fair to property owners who are waiting on variances that are currently pending. They agreed it was something to look at.
Head Commissioner JC Sanford explained,
"My statement as been for a long time that as far as I am concerned this board could go away and these duties could go to the planning and zoning people. Then the decisions, depending on how the restructuring of the ordinance came about, then those decisions would have to come to the BOC for approval"
Miller also brought up the fact that he did not approve of people sitting on multiple boards. Don Murray currently sits on the Airport Advisory Board and was on the agenda to be reappointed to the Board of Land Use Appeals. Miller stated,
"I think we have more talent and more people in this county that we do not need to do that and I think, as a principle, we should generally not allow a person to serve on more than one board at a time"
Miller was also concerned that two members chose not to be reappointed. He reiterated that was their choice, but that he thought it was concerning. The BOC determined it would put a discussion on the agenda for possible dissolution of the Board of Land Use Appeals.
This turned the discussion to which agenda to put this topic on (regular or work-session) and Post 2 Commissioner Danny Hall stated his concern about it getting pushed off. Miller asked if there had to be a public hearing.
Public hearing discussion led to the advertising process discussion to change the ordinance. The public hearing has to be published. The purpose of the public hearing is to solicit and receive input on the concerns being raised to see if they require further changes or not. There are legal obligations as to the timeliness of these notices. Currently these are published in the paper, but certainly another, more flexible option, would be to post the advertisements in an online news source.
The following people were appointed to the Board of Land Use Appeals with a vote from Hall and Sanford; Jim Dupont, Dorthy Logan, and Ann West. Don Murray was also reappointed in that vote. But the fate of the Board of Land Use Appeals looms in the balance.