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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Newbern planning commission elects officers

Friday, January 11, 2013

City Recorder Jason Roberts and Newbern Mayor Olen Parker discuss the Ethics Disclosure Statement required by the state at the Newbern Municipal-Regional Planning Commission meeting on Thursday evening. City Planner Christopher Pate informed members of the commission that the statement must be turned in by all planners -- online or through the mail -- by Jan. 31. From left, clockwise, Danny Webb and Jon Gentry of the Newbern Planning Commission, Roberts and Parker.
In spite of a new mayor and a new alderman on the roster, members of the Newbern Municipal-Regional Planning Commission chose to start off the new year with very few changes.

Planning commissioners re-elected the same officers from the 2012 calendar year and chose not to change the procedure for approving two lot subdivision requests at the organization's regular January meeting. The meeting took place at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 10.

Chairman Jerry Leach rearranged the agenda to complete the election of officers first, nominating Barry Little for the position of chairman for the 2013 calendar year.

Little respectfully withdrew his name from consideration and nominated Leach return to the position instead. Little's motion was approved by acclamation and Leach was elected unanimously by commissioners present at the meeting.

Kirby Ogden and Dennis Bryant were the only commissioners absent.

Little then suggested Steve McDonald and Jon Gentry resume their leadership roles on the commission, as well. He nominated McDonald as vice chairman and Gentry as secretary for the upcoming calendar year. The motion was also seconded and passed by acclamation.

In old business, City Planner Christopher Pate reported commissioners have the choice to amend the procedure for approving two-lot subdivisions after a change in state law two years ago. If the planners wish to change the Newbern policy, two-lot subdivisions may be approved by the city's planning staff and the secretary of the commission.

Commissioners voted to further investigate the issue and discuss the change after the new year at the organization's November meeting.

Pate said advantages of the change would include a quicker turn-around time for residents requesting amendments, but commended the planners on being available for called meetings in the past to move projects along.

"As a general rule, these subdivisions sometimes look innocent enough, but can be the toughest ones," said Pate, who said many times hidden problems can arise with two-lot subdivision amendments. "Also, I often use these as learning tools."

After discussion revealed the majority of commissioners wished to keep the procedure the same, Leach said he would entertain a motion to leave the policy as it is.

McDonald moved to leave the procedure for approving two-lot subdivisions the same, with Joe Prichard adding a second. The motion passed without opposition.

Also at the meeting, Pate informed commissioners that an Ethics Disclosure Statement is required by Jan. 31 for all members of the planning commission. Planners were given the option of filling out the forms and sending them into Nashville or completing the statement online.

"This is not negotiable," said Pate. "You can't opt out."

City Recorder Jason Roberts offered to help commissioners complete the form within the next month.

Before the meeting adjourned, newly elected Newbern Mayor Olen Parker addressed the commissioners.

"I do appreciate all you agreeing to continue to serve," said Parker. "And I look forward to working with all of you over the next four years."

The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

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