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CAROLINA SHORES—Planning and zoning board members have indicated they will approve serving a dual role as the town’s board of adjustments when the need arises.
At the April 16 workshop, board member Jonathan Miner said he has a better understanding about what the six-member board is being asked to do.
“At last month’s meeting, this issue was brought up at the workshop, and there was gross misunderstanding on our part about what was being requested,” Miner said.
“I don’t see where adding these duties and responsibilities to the planning and zoning board would have any type of significant impact on us, based on the number of actual appeals that have gone forward, which is very small.”
He added the way the board has to handle cases is “pretty straightforward” as well.
Appellants, he said, generally answer four or five questions, and the board makes a decision “either up or down on a variance.”
Town commissioners currently serve as the board of adjustments, which hears and decides requests for zoning variances.
Last month, P&Z members expressed concerns about potential conflicts of interest if they also served as the board of adjustments.
“I know the town had problems getting [planning and zoning] board members,” Miner said. “I don’t know when or if there’s ever been a standing board of adjustments.”
Board member Kathryn Powell said one potential conflict is resolved in that the P&Z board makes recommendations about projects to commissioners, who have ultimate approval. The board of adjustments, she said, grants or denies variances.
“It is possible there might be someone who considers it a conflict,” she said.
“My personal opinion is I’d like the board of adjustments to be a quasi-legal board. Since the [town] book says we can do both, we can do both.”
Town administrator Linda Herncane said the town has only had two or three board of adjustments hearings in the past year.
She estimated there have been “maybe eight” in the past 10 years.
“It’s not an overworked scenario, then,” board chairman Jim Hartnett said.
The board’s next meeting is slated for 3 p.m. Monday, April 28, when members also may vote on a final, conditional design plan for Calabash Lakes.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org