In the continuing series of articles on local government, I am discussing the important role the numerous boards and commissions play within the community, and the vital contribution the volunteers who serve their community as members of the boards make by providing input and direction impacting all of our futures. In this article, I want to talk about the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission is the fourth of the four commissions whose job responsibilities are specifically detailed in the City Charter. The others three include the Compensation Commission, the Civil Service Commission, and the Personnel Board of Appeals.
Article VII, Section 7-1 of the city charter details the creation and duties of the Planning Commission. Section 7-1 reads as follows: “The City Planning Commission shall consist of five citizens appointed by the Council, and a member of the Council who shall have no vote. The appointed members shall serve for terms of six (6) years, such terms being staggered in the manner provided by general law.”
Section 7-2 details the function of the Planning Commission. Section 7-2 reads: “The principal function of the Planning Commission shall be to prepare and revise from time to time a City plan providing for orderly and suitable expansion and development of the City. The City plans so submitted shall be considered by Council in framing legislation regarding city development. The Planning Commission may be given other functions of recommendation and review, but shall have no direct legislative or administrative functions. The members shall serve without compensation.”
“The following voting requirements shall apply to recommendations from the Planning Commission: (a) An affirmative vote of at least 4 Councilmembers shall be necessary to adopt a zoning ordinance as to which the Planning Commission has recommended approval or has made no recommendation. (b) An affirmative vote of at least 5 members shall be necessary to adopt a zoning ordinance as to which the Planning Commission has recommended against approval.”
The Planning Commission is scheduled to regularly meet the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are held in City Council Chambers in City Hall, and are open to the public.
The members of the Planning Commission serve six year terms, and may be reappointed for successive terms. All but one of the current member of the Planning Commission has served at least one full term.
The current members include Tom Ehler, who has served since 1982, David Gross, who has served since 1992, Patricia Miller, who has served since 2002, Merrill Asher, who has served since 2009, and Steve Klinger, who has served since 2014. The members are all residents of Sidney as required by the city charter.
In short, the Planning Commission consists of five citizens appointed by the City Council to six year terms. Their function is to prepare and revise a plan providing for the expansion and development of the city. The commission also advises the City Council on zoning and planning matters.
Most, but not all of our boards and commissions require that the appointed individuals live inside the corporation. As I have in the past, I would encourage residents who have expertise in specific areas to volunteer to serve, so that when vacancies occur, we will have a ready list of interested candidates from which to choose.
A listing of the boards and commissions is on the city’s website. If you have interest in one or more of them, please contact City Clerk Kari Egbert at 937-498-8148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my next article, I’ll write about the Income Tax Board of Review and Board of Appeals.
The writer is the mayor of Sidney.