01/13/09 — Keen no longer vice chair

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Keen no longer vice chair

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 13, 2009 1:46 PM

Steve Keen

Steve Keen, who was elected in November to the District 4 seat on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, has stepped down as vice chairman of the county planning board, but will remain a member of that body.

It is not unusual for commissioners to sit on committees or boards that report back to the county commission, County Manager Lee Smith said.

"There is no problem at all," County Attorney Borden Parker said.

Commissioners by law rule on recommendations made by the planning board.

Keen said he approached Parker prior to the election to ensure there wouldn't be any problem with his continued service on the planning board. He said he had intended to step down but was told that it was not legally required and that after the election his fellow planning board members had asked him to stay.

However, Keen said he felt "uneasy" about serving as vice chairman.

"The vice chairman has to fill in when the chairman is not there, and I felt uncomfortable as a commissioner," Keen said. "Not only that, it makes room for someone else to be more involved and more a part of the process.

"I think it enhances involvement (to have someone else serve) and I like to spread it out. I think it gets more people involved and gives them more ownership."

Keen, who is starting his seventh year on the planning board, said he enjoys serving.

"I love to create," he said. "It gives me a great opportunity to be plugged into what is going on in the county first -hand. It makes me a more-informed commissioner when it comes to making those right decisions."

He said it also gives him more insight as a commissioner.

Currently the planning board is working on parking standards for commercial properties including how many spaces a business may have before being required to have a paved parking lot.

It is also undertaking the Wayne County Highway Economic Impact Analysis to examine how the county's roads affect its economy.

For example, is important to look at the interchanges that will be built as part of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass, Keen said. That includes looking at potential residential and/or commercial development and the impact the interchanges will have on the community in terms of sales and/or property taxes.