The makeup of the Pasco County Planning Commission will stay the same — despite a change in the way members are selected.
Also, the planning board has reappointed Charles Grey as its chair and Jaime Girardi as its vice chair.
There are differences, though. Now, each Pasco County commissioner makes his or her individual appointment to the planning board and that planning commissioner serves a term that mirrors the term of the county board member who makes that appointment.
The county board also collectively selects one planning board member who serves a four-year term.
In this case, County Commissioner Ron Oakley appointed Grey; County Commissioner Mike Moore chose Peter Hanzel; County Commissioner Christina Fitzpatrick chose Don Anderson; County Commissioner Jack Mariano chose Roberto Saez; and, Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey chose Girardi.
The board collectively appointed Chris Poole.
The planning board advises the county board on land use and zoning issues.
The issue involving how planning board members are selected arose last summer.
County board members Mariano and Starkey said they wanted to make individual appointments; Oakley said the process was working and no changes were needed.
County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said the change would require an amendment to the land development code.
Steinsnyder added: “I’ll also remind you that the reason you moved to board appointments versus commission appointments was to move forward the way most other jurisdictions do it.”
The county board directed its staff to take the steps necessary to lay the groundwork for a board vote to amend the land development code.
Public hearings were held and the land development code was changed.
When the county board ultimately voted to keep the current planning board membership intact, Denise Hernandez, the county’s zoning administrator, responded this way: “Everyone is back on, which makes me very, very happy.”
Characterizing this reaction as an editorial comment, Hernandez added: “This is the best planning commission that you’ve had in the 19 years that I’ve been doing this job.”
Oakley noted: “We were looking at something that I felt wasn’t broken.”
At its Feb. 3 meeting, Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein told the planning board that no additional swearing-in ceremony would be required, since they had previously been sworn-in.
However, Goldstein said he would be happy to arrange a ceremonial swearing-in, if one was desired.
Planning board members agreed that wouldn’t be necessary.
Published February 09, 2022