The City of West Branch is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month and the fourth Tuesday of the month as needed at 6:00 pm at City Hall. Filling the current term will end on 12/31/2019. Applicants are asked to submit a letter of interest by June 21, 2017 with the filling of the vacancy is to be discussed at the meeting on June 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm.
The Planning Commission is an advisory body to the City Council, which is responsible for directing the short and long-range growth and development of the City through the maintenance and implementation of the City’s Zoning Code, Master Plan, and other associated specific plans. It is composed of nine members with one member being from the City Council, one member the City Manager, and seven qualified electors of the City. Members are appointed by City Council, based on nominations from current members of the Planning Commission. Each Commissioner serves a three-year term with no maximum term limit.
In order to implement the Master Plan, the Planning Commission is empowered to administer the City’s zoning laws, ordinances, rules and regulations which:
- Regulate the use and appearance of buildings, structures, and land.
- Regulate signs and billboards.
- Regulate location, height, bulk, number of stores, and size of buildings and structures; the size and use of lots, yards, courts, and other open spaces; the percentage of a lot which may be occupied by a building or structure; the intensity of land use.
- Establish requirements for off-street parking and loading.
- Establish and maintain building setback lines.
- The Planning Commission also reviews environmental documents and capital improvement programs.
A Planning Commissioner’s primary job is to make land use decisions that are consistent with the policies and plans formally adopted by the City Council. Therefore, the first priority of a Planning Commissioner must be to develop decision-making skills and knowledge of City policies. It is not critical to have training in fields such as planning, architecture, law, civil engineering, geology, economics, or demography.
These are skills that are available to the Commissioner from staff, consultants, and the applicant. The commissioner’s job is to weight the professional input given in staff reports, environmental impact reports, and consultant reports. A commissioner is much like a judge who is trained to render a legal decision based on the testimony of experts and others who appear as witnesses in a trial.
Suggested qualifications for a Planning Commissioner include:
- A willingness and ability to research and report on issues, programs and policies related to development issues.
- A willingness to attend night meetings on a regular basis.
- A willingness to assist in implementing projects as decided upon by the City Council.
- The ability to sustain harmonious working relationships with Commission members, the City Council, residents, and the public.
- A willingness to attend extracurricular meeting and training seminars related to regional planning uses.
For more details, please visit West Branch City Hall at 121 N. 4th St, West Branch, MI 48661 or visit us online at www.westbranch.com.