Sept. 9, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
My 6-year-old great granddaughter asked me to take her to see President Trump on his visit to Emerald Isle this evening. But because I had made plans to attend the County Planning Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. today to discuss rezoning of some property in my neighborhood, I had to refuse to take her.
My sister, brother and law and I drove to Beaufort, and when we got there about 5:10 p.m., the County Administration building was locked, and there was a sign on the door saying the rezoning meeting had been cancelled due to lack of a quorum and was rescheduled for Oct. 14.
I have several questions: (1) How does the Planning Commission determine if a quorum is present? Since there are nine members on the Planning Commission, and the commission’s bylaws require a majority for a quorum, does that mean that four members were absent?
(The meeting dates are posted well in advance of the meetings, so this doesn’t seem to be very good “planning” to me). How did they determine that there wasn’t a quorum since there was no meeting and no count of attendees taken? The bylaws also state that if a majority of members (five) are present, then a majority of the members present (three) can vote.
(2) Where is the attendance of commission members recorded, since it isn’t documented in the monthly meeting minutes?
(3) Did the owner of the property in question drive from his home in Wilmington to attend the meeting, only to find it was cancelled when he saw the sign on the door? Is he even expected or required to attend? Or was he notified ahead of time of the cancellation?
(4) If the property owner was notified before hand that the meeting was cancelled, and since some of the owners of surrounding properties wrote letters to the Planning Commission, and included our phone numbers, why weren’t we contacted when the meeting was cancelled?
(5) The Planning Commission was contacted by phone this morning about 8:30 and the caller was told the meeting would be held as scheduled. When was the decision made to cancel/re-schedule?
(6) Commission members are “appointed” for staggered 3-year terms. Who makes the appointments? What guidelines are there, if any, for the appointments?
(7) When should the agenda for meetings be published? It seems odd that for the rest of the 2019 meetings, the agenda were posted from five to seven days ahead of time. But at the time of this writing, there was no agenda posted for the Sept. 9 meeting.