Thursday, September 19, 2013

Work Session Induces Sleep

Sept 17, 2013 Roanoke County Planning Commission
Work Session Accomplishes Little

After eight months of "excruciating work" developing unexplained proposals to accomplish "simple housekeeping" amendments to the Roanoke County Zoning Ordinance, the Commission prepared to address more difficult Zoning Ordinance issues as the second part of their 2013 work plan.

Instead the meeting as guided by the Roanoke County Planning staff under the direction of Chairman Jason Peters offered a 45+ minute presentation by Roanoke County's new Chief of Police and another 40+ minute presentation by a planning staff member praising staff's accomplishments providing grant funding for a sign (with landscaping) at Richfield Retirement Community.

The remainder of the work session conducted by the Director of Community Planning focused upon discussions of  preparing for the Planning Commission's Work Schedule for 2014. At the end of the meeting one commissioner, obviously somewhat bewildered, asked about pursuit of previously identified elements of the Zoning Ordinance on their current agenda.

The Planning Director responded by informing the Commission of his frustration with the Board of Supervisors who have already gone through 2 or 3 work sessions without agreeing to adopt the "housekeeping elements" presented to them by the Planning commission earlier. At that point some Commissioners suggested scheduling a joint work session with the Board of Supervisors to accommodate dialog regarding the reasoning behind the proposed amendments. The Planning Director instead suggested each Commissioner speak one on one with his own District Supervisor.

The meeting ended without direction for the next work session.

Unfortunately, this meeting conduct is the norm for most of our elected and appointed citizen boards and commissions on all levels of government. Should we begin questioning the "political agenda" of government staff? Should we continue paying stipends to elected and appointed officials when they are discouraged from pursuing their responsibilities?