Mon07282014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

CB Planners take a look at the operation of the zoning department

   On March 31, 2009, the Colonial Beach Planning Commission held its April meeting at the Town Center.   They began promptly with all Planning Commissioners present with the exception of Desiree Urquhart.  
   The first item of business was not contained on the agenda, but was the direct result of an action taken by the Town Council during their March work session held on March 26th, the passing of a resolution calling for the “Reorganization of the Building and Zoning Department”.     The item of business the Chair of the Planning Commission was attending to was introducing Val Foulds, the Town Manager, as the Interim Building and Zoning Administrator to replace former Building and Zoning Administrator Chuck Bird, who recently resigned.
   The Resolution that Council passed, Agenda Item #24-09,  contains language concerning the absence of the Building and Zoning Administrator and the Town's need to hire someone for that position, but it also touches upon the need to “ensure that an effective system of operation, as well as appropriate checks and balances, is implemented in the areas of building and zoning”.  
   It goes on to charge the Town Manager with the responsibility of identifying “the primary functions of the Building and Zoning Department and to develop one or more proposals or options for the reorganization of the Colonial Beach Building and Zoning Department”.
    As a part of the proposals that were the submitted is “a mechanism for checks and balances be included so as to best ensure the fair and consistent application of the Town's ordinances to all citizens”.  
   The Chairman went on to point out that the Town Council had “suspended the rules” to approve this resolution.  The rule that was suspended was the one about voting at work sessions. Generally, it just isn't done.  So how important is it to undertake this review of the department?  This is a fair question when the next item on the agenda, which involved Maritime Commercial, stems from a Planning Commission action a year old that sat forgotten and un-adressed by Council.
   The Chair continued, “Basically what we're saying is that we need to take a look at the operations in that department and come to some decision as to what if anything needs to be changed, looked at etc...”
    Coombes told the Planning Commission that the Town Manager would have the support of the Town Attorney and the County's building inspectors.  “Unless we have some kind of serious situation that needs to be addressed, we will probably not be in full gear.  We will do the things we have to do but don't expect long lengthy meetings”.
    Planning Commission member Kent Rodeheaver asked, “Is there anything that tells us there could be a problem?”
    Chairman Coombes answered, “We want to look at the whole thing thoroughly in terms of how it has been operating.  That's not to imply that there is anything wrong.  There may be.  But we want to find out.  Val will head that operation.  We do not want to go ahead and hire somebody until we know that that person is coming into a slick moving operation without any baggage.  Let's put it that way.”  
   After a few more comments from members,  the Chairman brought the subject to conclusion saying, in reference to the “depth of experience and depth of education” of the individual that will be hired to fill that spot, “Particularly with the Chesapeake Bay Act putting on a lot of requirements.  There are a lot of people that can get unhappy.  We just need to examine how we're doing business as it relates to the public.  We need to make sure that the public has confidence in the decisions coming out that office.”  
   Rodeheaver added, “We need somebody who treats everybody the same.”  
   “I know that”, answered the Chair.  

Anne Congdon

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