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BCC considers moving duties from Board of Adjustment to Planning Commission

Posted 12/31/69

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – County Commissioners engaged in a discussion regarding a proposed amendment to the County’s Land Development Code to shift the duties of the Board of Adjustment to the …

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BCC considers moving duties from Board of Adjustment to Planning Commission


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – County Commissioners engaged in a discussion regarding a proposed amendment to the County’s Land Development Code to shift the duties of the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Commission. Officials voted unanimously to postpone their final vote until their Sept. 26 meeting. 

The two groups both handle land-related issues. The Board of Adjustment attends to specific cases like appeals and variances and the Planning Commission focuses on broader land development matters. The proposed changes that would shift the Board of Adjustment’s duties could also help streamline the process and make it more efficient. 

The main reason the ordinance is being proposed is that the Board of Adjustment, which consists of five volunteers that meet once a month, is facing challenges of declining membership and attaining a quorum, the minimum number of members needed to carry out the functions of their meetings, has become an increasing challenge.

Commissioners delayed the vote in hopes of recruiting more volunteers to the board during the next two weeks while also brainstorming strategies to facilitate a smooth transition if the amendment is approved. 

“Let’s see if we can make a hard push for volunteer applications (via social media and the county website) to consolidate (both boards),” said Commissioner Mike Cella.

Cella said that a quorum on the Board of Adjustment has already caused unfair delays to some residents who have already been waiting for a month or longer to have their requests heard and approved.

Cella said he favors the proposed change in principle but that the Planning Commission already has challenges to address. He wanted to ensure the proposed change doesn’t create an even bigger burden on the Planning Commission or further delay residents’ plans. 

Thus, commissioners will continue their discussions on the next step while also accepting applications for new volunteers on both boards. If the county eventually shifts the duties of the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Commission through the amendment, they wouldn’t be the first local government in the state to adopt the principle, Zoning Chief Mike Brown said when addressing officials. 

Jacksonville, North Palm Beach and Wildwood, along with Santa Rosa and Okeechobee counties, have already turned the Board of Adjustment duties to the Planning Commission.

In St. Johns County, appeals are heard by the Planning and Zoning Agency, Overlay Review Board, or the BCC, depending on the case. The potential changes could add approximately 30 and 45 minutes to the length of meetings for the Planning Commission.