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Village Vision News

Should ZBA and the Plan Commission be combined?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Should the Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Plan Commission continue as separate entities or be consolidated?

Presently, seven members are needed to fully staff each recom- mending body, and vacancies exist on both. Because of that, achieving meeting quorums has been espe- cially challenging in recent months, said Village Administrator Heather Kimmons.

According to Kimmons, it would be a practical solution to combine both bodies, similar to what many other cities and villages have done. As a result, only one group would need to be notified and educated on the issues instead of two, and that group could take an active role in advising the Board on a variety of planning and zoning issues. In the past, the ZBA has handled variances, and the Plan Commission has concentrated on special use permits and overall planning for the entire Village.

Combining both bodies “...would give [members] more of a sense of control... [and] more consistency,” Kimmons said.

One potential downside to con- solidation is that meetings could last up to two hours to address the combined duties, according to Kimmons. She has made it a goal to talk to all current ZBA and Plan Commission members to see if they are willing to meet monthly and to serve either as a regular or an alternate on the consolidated body. So far the responses have been positive, she said. Kimmons is also working to determine the number of members needed, length of terms and the process for making appointments.

One of the biggest changes proposed is to have the new com- bined group meet on the actual site under discussion. “Both the mayor and the Board are agreeable on this matter ... meeting on site would be more effective,” she said.

At their May 16 meeting, trust- ee consensus was that consolida- tion was a good option to explore. However, Kimmons must prepare and present a recommendation to the Board for their review and final decision.

Already, the idea to consolidate both entities has drawn more enthusiasm than Kimmons anticipated. “I’ve already had three people step up to express an interest,” she said.

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