County considers changes to Planning Commission

John Richmeier

County commissioners may soon modify the makeup of the Leavenworth County Planning Commission.

Currently, the Planning Commission has nine members. But the Board of County Commissioners may vote this week to extend that number to 10.

According to the county government's website, the Planning Commission makes recommendations regarding the county's zoning ordinance and things such as plats. The Planning Commission also acts as the county's Board of Zoning Appeals.

The possible change to the Planning Commission comes after a June 23 work session of the Board of County Commissioners. At that time, BOCC Chairman Mike Smith expressed frustration that his commission district has only one representative on the Planning Commission. The other County Commission districts each have two representatives on the Planning Commission.

"I think every district should be represented equally," Smith said during the June 23 meeting.

Smith's County Commission district includes Lansing, Delaware Township and a portion of the city of Leavenworth.

During the work session, commissioners came up with the idea of expanding the Planning Commission to 10 members. This would allow each of the five BOCC districts to have two representatives on the Planning Commission.

To avoid possible tie votes among the 10 members, the person selected to serve as chairperson of the Planning Commission would not ordinarily vote on matters before the group. But the chairperson could still participate in the discussion, according to the proposed changes.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said a tie still could occur if one of the nine voting members is absent at the time of a vote.

In this situation, the chairperson would be able to vote in order to break the tie, according to the proposed changes.

Members of the BOCC also are considering term restrictions for the chairperson of the Planning Commission.

Under the proposed changes, the Planning Commission members would select a chairperson each year. And members would not be able to serve consecutive terms in the chairperson position.

The BOCC will consider a resolution to enact the proposed Planning Commission changes during a meeting Wednesday morning.

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