No Planning Commission cuts – yet

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Suffolk City Council put the brakes on its discussion of dismantling the Planning Commission and creating a new one during its work session Wednesday night.

The governing body first brought up the issue during a November meeting, a day after the Planning Commission delayed for up to 90 days a decision on the controversial CenterPoint project.

The 14-member planning commission, whose members are appointed by council, makes recommendations to council about development projects throughout the city. Some council members suggested the commission is too big to accomplish anything.

Email newsletter signup

A reorganization of all the boards and commissions is needed because of the new structure of council. On most current boards, there are seven members, one appointed by each council member. However, there are several current vacancies, and many terms expire on Dec. 31.

The reorganization of the planning commission generated the most discussion in Wednesday’s work session. Most council members agreed a reorganization is needed, but they differed on how to go about it. The exception was Charles Brown.

“What’s wrong with the way it is now?” he said. “Both of my guys have served faithfully.”

Other members suggested appointing some members for a partial term so that all terms will expire at the same time in 2010, and do the reorganization then.

Still others, including Charles Parr and Leroy Bennett, wanted to wait until the Jan. 21 meeting to take up the issue again. That meeting will be the first after the reorganization meeting of council, when a new councilman and the city’s first directly elected mayor take their respective spots.

“I think we should take this draft, talk with the people, and talk about it at the retreat,” Bennett said.

In the end, the council voted unanimously to table the issue until the Jan. 21 meeting.