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Policy change mulled for planning board meetings
Commission quorum may be scrapped
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Forsyth County News

FORYSTH COUNTY — Forsyth County commissioners may not have to hold a quorum during planning board meetings for much longer.

The commissioners are considering doing away with a requirement that at least three of them attend the sessions of the five-member panel, which makes recommendations to the commission on rezonings and other issues.

During a meeting Tuesday, County Attorney Ken Jarrard called the move a “change a practice,” and said no codes were being broken or changed.

“What the zoning procedure law says is that the governing authority must provide for a public hearing,” Jarrard said.

Each commissioner appoints a representative to the planning board. Since the public addresses the board, which in turn gives a recommendation to the commission, it counts as a public hearing.

The change was proposed because commissioners are not legally required to go to the meetings, but do so as a policy.

If the proposal is approved, the commissioners may attend meetings as individuals, but would be discouraged from going as a group.

“If we’re not going to do it anymore, then we ought to think about not showing up as a quorum,” Jarrard said. “We’ve been advertising it as a quorum for years. So then if a quorum just shows up without advertising, then it almost looks worse than if we were just advertising it again.”

Commissioners Pete Amos and Todd Levent were in favor of the change, as each has other meetings happening at the same time as the planning board.

“I have Board of Health, and it conflicts almost all the time,” Amos said. “Mine supposedly gets out at 6:30 [p.m.], but sometimes it’s 6:45. I don’t want to hold [the planning board] up.”

Boff, who was against the proposal, said that he gets a lot out of the board’s meetings.

“I hate to be the odd man out, but I like it the way it is,” he said.

A decision will be made at the commission’s next meeting, which is set for Thursday. If it decides in favor of the change, the commissioners will not be required to attend the next planning board meeting, which falls on Oct. 21.

Earlier this month, an ethics complaint was dismissed against Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills after she briefly left a planning board meeting after public comments had been closed.