Terms limits discussed for planning board
GREEN COVE SPRINGS-- While filling openings on the Planning Commission, the Board of Clay County Commissioners decided at its Feb. 26 meeting to set aside time at their next meeting to take a look at term limits for Planning Commission members.
"We’ve got people on this planning board that are on their ninth term, their sixth, seventh term. There’s other citizens of Clay County that would like to serve. They are very capable of serving," said Commissioner Ronnie Robinson, a longterm term limit supporter.
With eight members on the Planning Commission, seven are appointed by the BCC to a two-year term. The eighth represents the Clay County School Board. County Commissioners, on the other hand, are limited to two, four-year terms, to which they are elected.
Robinson also said he didn’t mean to single out the current Planning Commission.
"This has nothing to do with the people on it, but I will say this. I think the people already serving, their time served is counted," he said.
Robinson also said he would be satisfied with four two-year terms for Planning Commission members. That would mean both members of the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners would be limited to eight years of service.
BCC members decided they would place the term-limit idea on their next meeting agenda for a thorough March 12 discussion. If they decide to enact term limits, they will also have to decide whether to proceed with the idea as simply a policy of the BCC or as a law, said Mark Scruby, county attorney.
County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos said staff will take the term limits concept to the Economic Development Committee’s March 4 meeting first, and then place it on the BCC agenda.
After grappling with term limits, commissioners made their appointments to the vacant spots on the Planning Commission. Originally, new appointments were needed for Districts 2, 3, 5 and the At-Large district. But due to the redistricting that took place after the 2010 census, a small part of District 1 was redistricted into Commissioner Diane Hutchings’ District 3. Planning Commission member Marsha Dumler lives in that small portion that was redistricted, meaning while she has been representing District 1, she actually now lives in District 3.
Hutchings said she had talked to Dumler, who was agreeable to moving her representation to District 3. Commissioner Wendell Davis, who represents District 1, said Dumler had been a good commissioner and agreed to the move as well. She has one more year to serve.
That now leaves an opening for District 1. Applications for that position can be made online, Hutchings said.
Joseph Anzalone was appointed to serve as the District 2 representative. He is the owner of Mediatown Productions and has been a Planning Commission member since 2011.
Gayward Hendry will represent District 5 as a new member. With 41 years in law enforcement, Hendry is employed by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office as chief inspector.
Rick Bebout was appointed for a third term as the At-Large member. A resident of Keystone Heights, Bebout retired in 2005 after 28 years of U.S. Navy service followed by Civil Service work.All appointments were unanimous.