Monticello considers shrinking size of two city panels
MONTICELLO — City officials would like to scale back the number of people making planning and zoning commissions from 14 to seven.
A proposal given to Monticello city council members this week would keep both the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, but they would be made up of the same seven people.
"This would be a more efficient process," said Callie McFarland, the city's director of community development. She noted that getting quorums for both boards has become increasingly difficult, resulting in the cancellation of meetings and delays for residents who request conditional use permits or variances.
"If the request affects both boards — and it seems more often than not that they do — we're having a hard time filling boards, a hard time filling positions," she added. "I think if we can get a smaller bunch of people instead of 14 it will help."
The Planning Commission is the legislative body, reviewing the zoning code and hearing requests for special use permits and recommending action for the city council to consider.
The Zoning Board of Appeals hears cases when a permit is denied by city staff, and also considers variances to zoning code. Again, it only makes recommendations to the full council, which also acts as the appeals body for both boards.
"Initially, I wasn't sure I would be in favor of combining the two. The more people you can get involved reviewing, I think better decisions come to you," said Alderman Tim Hayes. But he added that it would be better to get input from a dedicated group of seven than a larger group that cannot meet as often.
"It still comes to (the council) eventually, so the more information, the more input we can get from those boards, the better it is for us and the town," Hayes added.
The Planning Commission will consider the proposed ordinance on Aug. 18 and make a recommendation to the city council.