Board of Commissioners Work Session, TODAY, May 15, 2018, 2 PM Historic Courthouse
During 2016 and 2017, a group of representatives from 13 local business organizations and over 300 individual citizens participated in the WECARE process to identify issues that are plaguing Glynn County and to describe citizen views of "What Good Looks Like" when those issues are addressed.
A central theme of that entire effort was a desire by citizens to be more involved in the decisions that affect their community and their quality of life. During the same time frame, County Commissioners adopted a Strategic Plan with a core belief that Glynn County is "an organization that cultivates a transparent environment of trust and respect."
CRITICAL NOTICE: POTENTIAL COUNTY PROCESS CHANGE
The following meeting was scheduled last Friday. It is important for the community to be aware of this meeting and its implications.
The County Commissioners have a work session scheduled for TODAY, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 2:00 PM. One of the agenda items is a "discussion of the preliminary plat and site plan review process."
A reliable source has indicated that this discussion will be about . . .
completely removing the Island and Mainland Planning Commissions from this process; and,
allowing the County's Community Development Department (a/k/a "staff") to approve these items instead.
If this is actually the proposal, there are several aspects of this that should deeply concern and potentially outrage citizens:
1. If this is approved, preliminary plats and site plans would no longer have any public review or be discussed in a public meeting prior to enactment. In other words, citizens would not have any opportunity to express either their approval or non-support for such plans.
2. The Community Development Department has consistently demonstrated a "check the box" mentality with regard to both preliminary plats and site plans, many times considering incomplete applications and ignoring issues that the Planning Commissions have raised.
3. If implemented, this approach gives complete control to the County. If this had previously been the case, matters such as Dollar General, Flash Foods, Sinclair and others would have been approved without the legitimate, court-upheld challenges that were brought by the Island Planning Commission.
4. This approach is in direct opposition to the stated Strategic Plan belief that the County "cultivates a transparent environment of trust and respect," as it clearly returns to a process that takes place behind closed doors - at least from the community's perspective.
5. For the last 18 months, the County has been short-staffed in the Community Development Department and has consistently used that as the reason for the delayed schedule, errors and omissions in their reports and many other issues that have plagued the Planning Committee process. If this proposal were to be implemented, and if the County Staff were to perform the job properly, it would add a significant extra burden to what has been advertised as an already overloaded staff. On top of this, the 2018 fiscal year budget eliminates one Planner position in the Community Development Department, instead relying on a "consultant." How can a part-time consultant possibly know the wants and needs of our community? The obvious answer is that they cannot.
Tomorrow's work session is in the Pate Building beginning at 2:00 pm. While the meeting is open to the public, public comment will NOT be allowed. Therefore, each of you are encouraged to send an email to the County Commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you do NOT support this change in the County's current process for preliminary plats and site plans.
Please send your email NOW.