MONROE – Union County is considering merging its planning and adjustment boards.
Commissioners directed staff on March 6 to create a text amendment that consolidates the boards.
“The reason that I asked for this item to be added to the agenda is that a lot of our municipalities are concerned about doughnut holes, areas around their towns that they would like to determine how they are developed,” Rushing said. “It’s been a point of contention with the county and some of these municipalities over time.”
Rushing said as property owners and developers realize it’s more beneficial to annex into the municipalities to tap into their services, the planning board will become less busy. He also mentioned the board of adjustments meets infrequently.
Commissioner David Williams said it would be a mistake to combine the two boards. One is quasi-judicial in nature as it rules on appeals while the other serves as an advisory role for rezonings, ordinance changs and comprehensive planning.
Williams also contends that he likes the idea of separation of powers, the county is not in short supply of volunteers and only one of the 30 largest counties in North Carolina operate with combined planning and adjustment boards.
Rushing replied that Union County has 14 municipalities, each with their own planning boards and vision for growth and a lot of times, the county planning board gets caught in the middle.
Commissioner Brian Helms supports the idea of a combined board.
“I think at some point we have to look at making government more efficient and limited,” Helms said. “I think this is a step in the right direction.”
Members of the boards
The Union County Planning Board consists of seven members and two alternates. Daniel Barry, Don Fisher, Charles Griffin, Patrick Harrison, Robert McNally, Jeremy McAteer, Jonathan Thomas are members. Pam Duda and Kristoffer Patrick serve as alternates.
The Union County Board of Adjustment includes five members and two alternates. Lawrence Britt, Richard Davis, Darren Greene, Bill McGuirt and Mark Tilley are members. Christopher Edwards and Francis Ward serve as alternates.