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Commission questions LCPC work
Marion Stevens CMYK
Marion Stevens - photo by Courier file photo
Multiple county officials recently aired their grievances and concerns regarding the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.
During Tuesday’s county commission meeting, all but one of the county commissioners said they were displeased with the work of the LCPC that was created two years ago to help simplify and manage the county’s planning, zoning and development issues.
“I am disappointed with the LCPC,” District I Commissioner Marion Stevens said. “I am consistently contacted by residents in my district who get deferred to me by the planning commission. They’re supposed to be helping us. What are they doing?”
Following Stevens’ comments, county commission Chairman John McIver and commissioners Connie Thrift, Kenny Fussell, Eddie Walden and Donald Lovette agreed, noting they have encountered similar problems.
Walden said he was unhappy the planning commission overlooked a key ordinance when approving the construction of a cell phone tower on Liberty County Clerk of Courts Barry Wilkes’ property cell phone tower.
That ordinance was 12.4.5, regulating setbacks and separations.
Thrift said the LCPC needed to be more user friendly.
Fussell said there seemed to be personnel and qualification issues with the planning commission’s staff, and McIver concluded the commissioners needed to discuss those issues with the LCPC to resolve the problem.
LCPC Director Sonny Timmerman said the concerns of the commissioners were more like perceptions.
“There’s nothing wrong with constituents going to elected officials to address a concern or an issue,” Timmerman said. “...Sure, there are kinks in the system, but the consolidation brought on new procedures which changed things significantly. However, we are working out these procedural kinks, and I believe consolidation is the best way to do business. It saves money for the county.”
But Mary Herring, who works in the county’s building and permitting department, brought up other issue.
“They don’t have much room or organization in their building,” she said. “They misplace things all the time.”
But she said the planning commission is working on building an updateable computer network that would help solve some of the organizational problems.
Commissioner Pat Bowen also defended the planning commission.
He said there may be some problems, but noted the two commissions can work together to solve them.
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