Planning Commission membership replacements pending

FLINT TWP. — Three new faces will appear on the township’s Planning Commission if a list of candidates meet approval at the township board meeting Monday night.

In adding to reappointing John Gazall to a term expiring in August 2015, township supervisor Karyn Miller also is recommending the appointments of Randy Kilbreath, replacing Dick Ruhala, to a term expiring in August 2015; Warren Marks, replacing Don Rowley, to a term expiring August 2014, and Linda Patrick, replacing Shirley Jamison for a term expiring August 2015.

These changes follow a somewhat contentious decision in December to retain a nine-member planning commission. In a 4-3 decision, the board of trustee voted down a proposed ordinance amendment that would have reduced the number of commissioners to 7.

Amid inferences of cronyism, Clerk Kim Courts, Treasurer Marsha Binelli and trustees George Menoutes and Frank Kasle voted against the downsizing while Supervisor Karyn Miller and trustees Barb Vert and Belenda Parker voted in favor of it.

Those in support cited reduced costs and lower application fees for businesses seeking planning commission approval.

Vert also said she was wanted to see new people with fresh ideas brought onto the commission.

Kasle argued that a larger commission allowed for greater input from as many different people as possible, despite the fact that the planning commission met only seven times last year due to lack of agenda items.

Menoutes, a current commission member, said reducing the panel size would not reduce application fees, which are reasonable compared to what other area municipalities are charging.

The downsizing proposal first appeared on the board’s Dec. 3 agenda but was removed for lack of support. Miller said it was added back to the Dec. 17 agenda at the request of two trustees.

The commission appointments were on the board’s January 22 agenda but have been pushed back two weeks because that meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum.

The planning commission oversees decisions about the township’s land use development and also gets the first look at zoning requests.

Other appointments up for board consideration at next week’s meeting are members for the Zoning Board of Appeals and for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

Recommended for reappointment to the ZBA are Roger Powell, term expiring in September 2015 and Ed White, term expiring August 2014.

Seven people to be recommended to serve for the next four years on the parks and recreation advisory committee are Barb Vert, Jim McClung, George Mehrens, Jackie Perina, Charles Hughes, Peter Mikelens and Karyn Miller.

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