Press-Republican

Local News

May 18, 2014

Town of Jay Planning Board's future unsure

JAY — A lack of applicants for the Jay Town Planning Board has prompted the town to head toward dissolving that body.

A special Jay Town Council meeting is set for 6:15 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Town Offices to discuss and pass a local law allowing the council to take over the function of the Planning Board.

Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the proposal has nothing to do with any controversial decisions of the Planning Board but is instead because they can’t get people to volunteer for it.

The Planning Board had several vacancies, he said, and without a quorum could not function.

“We advertised for the positions, and we didn’t get anybody. We advertised a couple times. We went from a seven- to a five-person board to see if that would help. We had a hard time getting that.”

And now, to enforce the town’s site-plan review and subdivision laws, they have no choice but to turn planning duties over to the supervisor and Town Council, he said.

“I’d rather have had people apply. I would have loved it. It’s unfortunate the town board is going to do it. It was our only option.”

'OUR OBLIGATION'

State law requires a minimum of four hours annual training for planning board members, and he and all four council members have committed to taking the instruction when it is offered, he said.

Unlike some towns and villages, which have dissolved their planning boards to allow governing bodies to rubber-stamp all applications as approved, Jay officials see the need for planning for the community’s future and setting conditions on projects, Douglas said.

“We re-advertised, and we didn’t get enough people to serve. It’s going to mean an extra meeting a month for the town board, but it’s our obligation.”

The first of those meetings is at 6:45 p.m. after the special meeting, when the Jay Town Council will meet as the planning board to consider any applications for site-plan review of development projects and other pertinent business.

The meetings are open to all.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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