Seat opens on Planning Board

December 07, 2005|BY A SUN REPORTER

For the third time in a year, the county has begun a search to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board.

The latest opening was created by the resignation of Jennifer R. Terrasa, who stepped down after serving nine months of a five-year term to seek higher office.

This and the previous vacancies have been problematic because the board is involved in many of the county's most complex and controversial issues. The five-member board at times has been reduced to three, the legal minimum to conduct business; at other times its deliberations have been slowed as new members try to acquaint themselves with the issues and zoning policies before the panel.

Herman Charity, executive assistant to County Executive James N. Robey, is in charge of finding a replacement.

Charity said he would like to fill the vacancy next month, but said the process could take longer.

"I'd like to do it in the next month," he said. "But we aren't going to rush it."

Charity said three or four people have expressed interest in joining the Planning Board. The search, though, will be broader.

"There are also others who have expressed interest in being appointed to other boards," he said. "We'll go back and see if any of them would be good for the Planning Board as well."

Robey officially names members to the board, but Charity screens candidates and recommends appointees.

Charity said he was surprised by Terrasa's decision to step down.

"I did not see it coming," he said, adding that he "always hopes that people will serve their full term."

Terrasa was named to the board in February, replacing former Chairman Gary L. Kaufman, who served on the board for 10 years, but had missed numerous meetings before finally resigning.

Terrasa announced late last month that she is a candidate for the District 3 seat being vacated by County Councilman Guy Guzzone.

A year ago, David Grabowski was chosen to fill a vacancy on the board that had existed for eight months.

The board makes recommendations to the council on planning and zoning issues and prepares guidelines for the county's general plan. It is among the county's most challenged panels, often tackling thorny and contentious issues such as land preservation and where to permit and restrict density.

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