June 24, 2016

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Village may end planning panel

LODI — Village Council is moving forward with plans to dissolve the Planning Commission and place its duties into the hands of Council’s Planning and Zoning Committee.

Council President John Carpenter said after no one except Council members attended a public hearing on the issue Oct. 1, he decided to introduce an ordinance to switch the duties to Council.

“No one except for Council showed up — no members of the commission and no residents, so Council decided to move forward with legislation to dissolve the commission,” Carpenter said.

On Monday, Council voted unanimously to place the legislation on a second reading. It will have a third reading before a vote is taken.

Mayor Dan Goodrow said the Ohio Revised Code does not require a village to have a planning commission.

He said abolishing the commission streamlines the planning process, because any recommendations made by the commission must go through the Planning and Zoning Committee anyway before they are introduced to Council as a whole.

The Planning Commission reviews site plans and proposals from residents and businesses regarding property, construction and zoning within the village. It determines if plans are compliant with zoning codes and makes recommendations to Council for its consideration.

Issues with the Planning Commission arose during the summer, when Carpenter was replaced as chair by resident Patrick Donnelly after Carpenter canceled three commission meetings.

At the time, Carpenter said the commission was “rehashing” issues such as an ordinance that prevents mobile home park owners from hooking up utilities.

He also said commission members were acting as zoning inspectors when only the zoning inspector can inspect and cite property owners for zoning code violations.

The Planning Commission is made up of the mayor, a Council member and three residents. Members are appointed by the mayor and serve six-year terms.

Goodrow previously said he wanted to keep the commission so there would be more input from residents as the village grows.

However, he said this week he is “always an advocate for change, as long as that change is an improvement.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.