10/03/09 — Update, positive: Planning Board examination a good idea for county

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Update, positive: Planning Board examination a good idea for county

The Wayne County commissioners are going to take a hard look at the Planning Board as well as the policies that have been in place that govern planning issues.

And be prepared for there to be some less-than-accurate comments from the peanut gallery -- and a whole lot of suspiciously timed misinformation as the discussion begins.

There seem to be a number of people in the county who would rather that the Planning Board be left just as it is.

That is the main reason that the commissioners are absolutely doing the right thing in taking a closer look.

There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by the board -- or by any of the individual members.

The fact that the commissioners have decided to take a closer look has not been sparked by some undercover tip or some as-yet-unveiled scandal.

It is just time to think about who decides what and who should be serving on this, one of the most important boards the commission appoints.

But for those who still think there is some connection to a nefarious plot for the commission to take over deciding who can and cannot develop property in Wayne County -- other than by legal means, of course -- or for those who think the Municipal Planning Organization is really just a front for government interference in all things business, here's a little fact you might not know.

The Planning Board was created in the 1960s.

It is perfectly reasonable to assume that there might be a reason to look over the board's organization, duties and to modernize the process by which planning decisions are made in Wayne County.

Now think about it. Has this county not changed since the 1960s? Do we not have even more challenges and opportunities in this modern age?

Taking a look at the board is not a punitive measure -- at least it better not be, we can all keep a close eye on that. This is truly a chance to make something useful even better.

Now there are some who seem to misunderstand the powers that should be assigned to a planning board -- and really have taken on some sort of crusade to derail the efforts of the commissioners to alter it.

And, even though they seem to be innocent of outside interest motivating their calls for things to stay the same, there is an uncomfortable feeling that perhaps they might protest too much.

The truth is that sitting on any board has its pitfalls. It is impossible to be totally impartial -- especially if you are in the business being regulated -- no matter how honest you are.

Taking a good look at the rules for serving, the duties of the membership and the makeup of any board -- including an elected one -- is just smart.

But commissioners beware. Residents expect to see a fair analysis and changes that make sense. This should be a Planning Board that operates in the best interest of the community it serves and treats those who give of their time to serve on it with respect.

Otherwise, there will be another board to take a closer look at.

Published in Editorials on October 3, 2009 11:22 PM