2010-01-23 / Editorials & Letters

Planning Commission needs new leadership

Editor:

I’m impressed…finally. For the first time that I’m aware, our village will auction off the cars in the impound lot instead of allowing the police department to dispose of them how they see fit. This is a good “first step” for our new mayor.

Now if we could only see a change in the leadership of the Planning Commission. In 2009, delays directed by the commission chair added more than $100,000 to the cost of the new Petplex building! While the council president was announcing that Dr. Poorman had a green light on the project, the Planning Commission chair was arranging for a “stop-work order” from the county planning commission. After the damage was already done, months later Mayor Foster said the “stop-work order” was not even enforceable because our own planning commission holds the ultimate authority. Too bad Foster didn’t speak up earlier to save more than $100,000 for one of our most successful business owners and employers.

Construction was stopped so they could iron out the location of the driveway and submit a landscape design. In the meantime, the best three months of construction weather passed by and heavy equipment set idle. Why not work out all these side issues while construction progresses? Dr. Poorman even stated it was costing him a fortune but Chair Karen Cookston replied, “This is not about money.” Not to her, I suppose. After the Petplex project was underway again, I attended a meeting where the commission was trying to make the development process easier by creating a list of steps to follow. And I’m thinking to myself, “And why doesn’t this already exist?”

In order to stay open, businesses must ultimately pass on their costs to customers. So we should all remember to thank Planning Commission Chair Karen Cookston for her leadership. And thanks to former Mayor Foster for nothing…once again.

Can we make a New Year’s resolution to treat our developers and businesses better? I believe it can happen with our new mayor, Rick Baker, but we also need a new leader on the planning commission. At a recent meeting, Cookston said it would take six months for new members to “get up to speed” as if to dissuade anyone else from taking the leadership role. Unfortunately, Cookston also proved SHE’S not “up to speed” when she insisted on misquoting the front setback requirements for new construction at a recent meeting.

It’s not going to take six months to get up to speed for new members. Between the existing members and the new candidates, we have some very qualified people. We need to make sure we don’t repeat this with the new waterfront restaurant. The key element that’s needed is a new chair. Developers, business owners and residents deserve new leadership! We simply can’t afford for things to stay the same.
Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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