Hobbs, Freeman earn seats on Planning Board

Published 9:47 am Monday, June 24, 2013

GATESVILLE – The Gates County Planning Board now has two new faces.

At their meeting earlier this month, the Gates County Board of Commissioners appointed Phyllis Hobbs and J. Ray Freeman to the Planning Board, an entity that serves in an advisory capacity to the commissioners.

The new appointments were needed to fill the seats held by Lynn Hobbs and Rita Lane, both of whom saw their terms expire on May 31.

Phyllis Hobbs and Freeman were joined by Sidney Pierce III and Graham Twine as those submitting applications to serve on the Planning Board. Twine is the former chairman of the county commissioners who was defeated in last year’s election.

Upon the floor being opened, Commissioner Linda Hofler nominated Phyllis Hobbs. Commissioner Johnny Hora nominated Freeman, and Commissioner Kenneth Jernigan nominated Twine.

In the voting process (performed in the order of nomination), Hobbs and Freeman were elected, both by 4-1 votes, with Jernigan casting the lone “nay” vote.

The remaining members of the Gates County Planning Board include Joe Greene (chairman), Wade Askew, Chuck Brothers, John Carter and Brenda Felton. Each member is appointed to a three-year term.

The Planning Board serves as part of the county’s Planning & Development Services department, which encompasses Planning, Zoning, Economic Development, Community Development, Floodplain Management and administers various county ordinances.  These ordinances include local regulations relating to subdivision of land, manufactured homes and home parks, and junkyards.  Development Services is also responsible for administering the Zoning program, handles map and plat review, and is in charge CAMA land use planning.

The Planning Board meets the third Tuesday of each month in the county courthouse.

Appointments were also made by the commissioners to the county’s Zoning Board of Adjustments. Those appointments came on the heels of discussion at a previous meeting of the commissioners. County Manager Jon Mendenhall explained there was some confusion concerning issues over term appointments within this board.

“We believe the confusion began with an appointment to a term and that everyone is on staggered terms,” Mendenhall noted. “It snowballed from there to where an alternate was elevated to the position of a regular board member.”

Mendenhall said there were four options for the board to consider that would correct the situation with the Zoning Board of Adjustments. Those options are:

Appointing Kathy Radmore as a regular member from a current alternate position for the remainder of her three-year term (to expire 6-30-2015);

Reappointing Dan Lang to a three-year regular term;

Reappointing Terry Eure to a three-year regular term; and

Appointing two alternates to replace Graham Hawkins and William Harrell. Hawkins and Harrell were elevated to regular board members.

On a motion from Hofler, the board approved all options except for the appointment of the two alternates, since there were no applications received for those positions.

The regular members of the Gates County Zoning Board of Adjustments also include David Boyce, who serves as chairman, and Joseph Perry.

The Gates County Zoning Board of Adjustment acts as a “quasi-judicial” body and issues rulings on variances, Special Use Permits, and hears appeals of the Zoning Administrator’s rulings regarding the literal translation of the Zoning Ordinance.  Their decisions can only be appealed to Superior Court. This board meets on an as-needed basis (by appointment only).

One other appointment was handled by the commissioners at their June 5 meeting.

“At out last meeting we discussed the vacancy on the East Carolina Behavioral Board of Health and noted that we needed a medical representative on the board,” stated Commission Chairman Henry Jordan. “I see that Lessie Blow has agreed to serve, meaning our medical representation on that board is now filled.”

Blow is a registered nurse residing in Gates.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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