Local News

Homewood combines two committees in attempt to streamline government

Homewood trustees approved several measures Tuesday, March 22, that will enable a merger of two village review boards, the Plan Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

The seven-member combined board will be known as the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Village Economic Development Director Tom Vander Woude told trustees the amount of work required of the Plan Commission has been reduced in recent years because the village has little undeveloped land.

One of the Plan Commission’s primary duties is to oversee new subdivisions. The primary task of the Zoning Board of Appeals is to review variance petitions, specific cases in which property owners make a case for an exception to the zoning rules.

“Our feeling is that one board is qualified to hear both types of petitions,” he said.

The move is also intended to streamline local government.

Vander Woude said developers had to make presentations at five meetings to gain approval for a project. The number of meetings will be reduced to four.

“If we can eliminate one meeting, we can create a village that’s a little bit more business friendly,” he said.

He noted the change would help with staff workload, too.

The merger also required a change to the appeals process. Before the merger, decisions by the Plan Commission could be appealed to ZBA. Now that the two boards are merged, appeals of the  Planning and Zoning Commission decisions will be taken to the Board of Trustees.

In a related move, trustees expanded the membership of the village Appearance Commission from five to seven and appointed two new members. The commission is still short one member.

Trustees approved the following appointments to the Planning and Zoning Commission: Seth Bransky, term ending March 22, 2017; Fred Sierzega, term ending March 22, 2017; William O’Brien, term ending March 22, 2019; Michael Cap, term ending March 22, 2020; Maureen Alfonso, term ending March 22, 2021; Mario Planera, term ending March 22, 2022; and Lee Reid, term ending March 22, 2023.

Gary Koeppel and Kevin Hayes Sr. were appointed to the Appearance Commission for terms ending July 31, 2017.


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