Four Alma Planning Commission members have put in their resignation letter, all in a one month span.
Back in October, the Alma City Council approved a new ordnance that changes how planning commission members are appointed and where they have to live.
‘We lost about 40 years experience in Alma,” said Alma Mayor Keith Greene.
“We need to make sure that we have the right people sitting on the planning commission,” said Jerry Martin. a Alma City Council member.
After the change, four commissioners resigned.
“I hated to see that, because the ordinance was never intended to try and run anyone off.” said Martin.
“We had a full planning commission that actually took a while, maybe a couple of years, to really fill up the slots,” said Greene.
The Alma City Council discovered there were items needing an update, like how long commissioners can hold their position.
“We felt that the best thing to do was since this ordinance was from 1987 was to just start over,” said Martin.
Now those serving on the planning commission must live within Alma city limits.
Before they were also allowed to live within the city’s planning area.
This forced two of the four members to resign.
“Some of things they have been working on and together on may have led to this problem. I am not sure on that part of it,” said Greene.
Another difference, instead of the mayor recommending who will be on the planning commission, the city council now will require a vetting process.
“You don’t ever want a mayor just appointing who he wants on there, then expecting city council to rubber stamp it.” said Martin.
But Greene said, the city council always had every right to deny anyone he recommended.
“We were approved to do what we were doing, and doing a fine job, explained Greene.
Now, the main focus moving into the new year, filling those four empty spots.
“We’re going to have a hard time finding people that have the ability and experience to make competent decisions on the planning commission,” said Greene.
But, Martin said they’ve received a good amount of interest.
Martin hopes to fill the positions by the end of January.
‘We’re excited that we’re going to be able to get this behind us and move forward,” said Martin.
Martin said next Thursday he plans to amend the ordnance to allow members to live within the cities planning area or inside the city limits.
We also reached out to the planning commissioners that resigned, and all had no comment.