The advisory committee selected to assist in choosing a county planning director met again Monday — this time legally conducting business.
The committee held its first meeting a week ago Monday, immediately following the regular meeting of the Rogers County Commission.
The legality of that meeting was questioned since public posting, as required by law, was not made. The District Attorney’s Office determined the committee is subject to the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, and public notification is required.
The committee is now down to six members — following the resignation of former county commissioner Kenneth Crutchfield.
Crutchfield submitted his letter of resignation Thursday. It was accepted by the County Commission Monday.
Crutchfield’s reason for resigning: “I live outside the planning commission area.”
In his letter, he stated, “The fact is I have no business being involved in the selection of a director, when I won’t be under the rules and regulations of the planning commission.”
Some discussion was held regarding two other members status with the committee.
“I live in Talala where they have their own planning commission,” former county commissioner Glenn Sweet said. “Does that make a difference?”
“I live in the city of Claremore, and I was under the impression that I was serving to represent the Port of Catoosa,” committee Chairman Dick Voth said.
Committee member George Lamberson reminded Voth, and the rest of the committee, that the city is included in the planning commission, as a whole, and Voth’s residency would not be an issue.
Commissioner Mike Helm, who also serves on the committee, said Sweet’s residency issue was moot as well.
“I see no problem with you serving on this committee,” he said. “The planning commission director assists with the Oologah-Talala commission. I see it as a sister to a big brother.”
Mike Martin agreed, saying since the committee was appointed by the county commission, “If someone is in each commissioner’s district, they should be allowed to serve on the committee.”
Down one member, the committee reviewed a sample job description, put together by committee chairman Dick Voth, which included duties and qualifications.
Former planning director Chuck Taber was not only responsible for the day-to-day operations of the planning commission office, but conducted inspections as well. This is something the committee would like to see continue.
“The two (inspectors) they have now aren’t able to do it all,” committee member Chick Dorsey said. “We need to do some correcting in that area.”
He added that the planning director needs to be someone who’s knowledgeable enough to help in all aspects.
Several items were included in the job description concerning the position, including the ability to plan, budget, direct, manage and oversee the planning commission office activities; issue permits, perform building inspections and enforce zoning, subdivision and land use policies, regulations and ordinances; oversee the development and revision of the Comprehensive Master Plan; and provide information and assistance regarding planning issues to the county commissioners, staff and members of the City of Claremore-Rogers County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, as well as the Rogers County Board of Adjustment.
Another question addressed by the group: “Should the director live in the planning commission area or be open to the best qualified applicant, even if they don’t live in the planning area?”
During the discussion, the committee agreed the position should be filled by the person best qualified.
In speaking of the best qualified person, Helm told the committee the planning director needs to be more than an inspector.
“I want this position to go beyond just an inspector,” he said. “We’ve got to have a planner. We can hire more inspectors. We can’t keep going with subdivisions that are sloppy.”
The subdivisions Helm spoke of are, as he describes them, not up to par.
“District 2 is the fastest growing district in the county, and the county will be out about $300,000 for four subdivisions that aren’t up to standard because they were approved previously,” Helm said. “I’ve got to have somebody who can plan a development, not just say it looks good on paper. We’ve got a comprehensive plan and need to have somebody who can read it.”
Voth asked members to review the job description he put together and be ready to present any suggestions, revisions or additions to it at the next meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.