Zoning board won't meet three months in 09

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Some local surveyors not happy

By Scotty McDaniel

The Triple S Commission's decision to reduce the number of meetings it will have for the remainder of the year was not met with open arms by local surveyors and engineers Tuesday night.

Members of the commission approved an amendment to the Commission Bylaws, Article V, Sections 1 and 4 that requires the commission to meet at least six times a year, and adopted a revised calendar for the rest of this year.

The commission has come together on every third Tuesday of each month for years, but with the slowed economy, the commission deemed that frequency unnecessary.

"There's not a whole lot going on in zoning right now. The last six or seven months, we've only had a few small items on an agenda," commission Chairman Gil Tucker said. "We were just trying to cut down on the cost of the meetings. It costs around twenty-two or twenty-three hundred dollars to have a meeting, and we've been borrowing money out of our reserve the last several months to pay the bills and salaries."

"It's just a cost-effective deal. I don't know when things are going to pick up. Nobody else does either. Maybe things will start picking up in 2010, but that remains to be seen."

The commission decided that after finishing out April and May, with normally scheduled meetings to allow for transition, they'd finish the year with meetings only in July, September and November.

The month of June was added to the list last minute, leaving three months without a meeting.

"June was added to give the realtors and surveyors time to maybe get their things in order on what will take place in mid-summer and to tell their clients when zoning will meet -- to give them time to adjust," Tucker said.

It's the months without meetings that caused a stir.

The consensus among the engineers in attendance was that the resulting longer wait to get anything approved by the commission would be troublesome.

"People come in and want to do a 5-acre [division], it takes three months as it is now," said Larry Tingle of Tingle Surveys. "You start dragging it out every other month, the way I look at it it's going to be a burden on these people who need to get a plat signed."

Tingle added that people are facing the hard economic times and need to get these sorts of divisions done in a timely matter, because waiting for too long to have Triple S sign off on something could kill a deal.

He said he is not opposed to fewer meetings but suggested that the staff look in-house for those who meet the minimum standards set by zoning on 5-acre divisions so they don't have to wait so long.

"We never had one of these turned down in the last 20 years," he added.

Other engineers voiced similar concerns about how the procedures would be delayed but the commission approved the schedule of fewer meetings.

The commission listened to the concerns, but refused the suggestion of approving plats away from the public meeting forum.

"I'm not going to sign plats on new tracts and everything unless the whole commission has had a chance to look at it," Triple S Chairman Gil Tucker said. "I want the whole commission to have a chance to look at any development that comes in and all of the public to be able to offer their input on the items."

Tucker added that if an agenda gets too full, the commission could always call an unscheduled meeting.

"If in one of the months we're not scheduled to meet, six or seven items are on the agenda I could get with the commissioners and see if they want to meet that month, and if they want to we will," he said.

Also at the meeting the commission:

* Approved a boundary adjustment plat with waiver for the James property located on Bob Rogers Road.

* Approved an amended plat with waiver for Gar-Lar Enterprises, Inc. property on Midland Trail.

* Approved an amended development plan for Baker Farm at 361 Haven Hill Rd. for a 7,600 sq. ft. addition.