A Post from Rob Horning
I have never been a blog poster in the past. I’ve never really been sure what to say on the blog. But I do have experiences that may be applicable to the members of the Indiana chapter American planning Association.
My experience with planning has been 20 years ago I was on the plan commission and 16 years ago I became the president of our town’s plan commission. During those times we only met when there was a problem that needed to be dealt with as far as zoning is concerned for how the town interprets various zoning rules.
My little town is a tiny little place similar to other towns in my county and neighboring counties. We have a smaller population under 400 people and approximately 120 registered voters. Getting people to serve on the various boards of our town is tough inasmuch is apathy seems to control how people feel about serving on local boards. This means that we tend to get the same old people running for election or appointment and it’s really tough getting fresh blood into the town management.
Our current plan commission has three members of our town Council on it and they try to hold Town Council meetings during the plan commission meetings. All too often they lose sight of the fact that they are having a plan commission meeting and instead they are trying to patch the roads or work with the utility companies.
I wish there was a catchphrase I could use to remind them what they’re supposed to be doing during their meetings. In the summer of 2012 I bought a copy of the 2011 Planning and Zoning Code Annotated book from the Indiana Bar Association and have tried to get them to buy their own copies inasmuch as I have loaned the book to the president of our town Council and it took me 11 months to get back.
Last month I went to the planning 101 page of the chapter website and copied off the second paragraph of the page along with the following bullet list and emailed it to the plan commission secretary for distribution to the plan commission and the clerk treasurer. One of the members took umbrage with the phrase city planner and said quote “We are not city planners were members of an advisory plan commission”.
Getting the members of our little town’s planning board to read up the purpose and required activities is a tough job, especially when each member seems to have their own agenda.
Thanks for letting me rant.