By Rosemary Horvath
Clare County Commissioners were asked to brush up on the Michigan Planning Enabling Act of 2008 before addressing future of a county planning commission at their January meeting.
Commissioners at the December meeting formally accepted a second wave of resignations members of the county planning commission submitted in October. Disinterest and no direction from the county board were reasons given, which were identical behind a mass resignation of planners several years earlier.
“We were trying to set a path for a strategic plan to guide the county,” explained Rod Williams, planning chairman who resigned.
Williams is zoning administrator for Surrey Township and for the village of Farwell.
Others resigning were Roger Carey, Jerry Bridges, Virginia Collins and Jennie Pagel. County commissioners Rick LaBoda and Leonard Strouse represented the Board of Commissioners.
County Administrator Tracy Byard said the resignations don’t signal the end to a planning commission. She provided commissioners with copies of the Enabling Act and with a county government primer to study existing law, what planning commissions now are expected to do, and how are zoning ordinances and master plans defined.
As Williams pointed out, a county can have a master plan without zoning but you can’t have zoning without a master plan.
The county attorney agreed, Byard said, adding that he did not recommend whether the county should or should not have a planning commission.
A committee of a county board has the authority to function as a planning commission if a county does not designate a planning commission.
Byard said commissioners have not discussed what they plan to do. There was no discussion at the time the resignations were approved.
Other action taken by the county board recently included rehiring Tammy Goodman in the Community Development department. Goodman had filed a grievance with the county after being laid off in spite of seniority.
Corrine Turner, chairperson of Unit 1, UAW Sub-Region 1-D, said Goodman was reinstated Dec. 11 to work part-time at the same salary as before. There is hope the job will revert to full-time as before also once building and electrical work picks up, Turner said.
As for the union grievance, the union had it withdrawn and considers the issue closed, Turner said.