Council fills two vacancies on planning commission

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By Jenny Hartley

County Council members appointed two new members to the Lancaster County Planning Commission on Monday.

Planning Commission Chairman Frankie Faile, who represents District 5, and members Val Marz of District 1, Tim Hinson of District 7 and Bobby Hegler of District 3 resigned during the commission's monthly work session Jan. 10.

Faile, Marz and Hegler said they resigned because they believe the planning commission was slighted in planning a resolution that establishes regulations for the protection of the Carolina heelsplitter, an endangered mussel. The mussel lives in the Six Mile Creek basin in Indian Land.

Hinson turned in his resignation because he believes he didn't have enough time to devote to the planning commission due to his job.

Faile said County Council went around the planning commission by voting on a resolution that set temporary heelsplitter regulations. A resolution does not go to the planning commission.

But county officials said the planning commission would have been involved in planning the permanent ordinance setting the regulations.

At Monday's meeting, council appointed Keith Deese for District 3 and Steve Harper for District 5.

Councilman Bryan Vaughn said he had four people from District 1 interested in serving on the commission and would have an appointee at council's meeting next week.

The planning commission needs at least four members to hold meetings. It acts as an advisory board to County Council on planning and zoning issues.

Council briefly discussed the resignations.

"There was no intent to circumvent or to usurp the planning commission's authority," said Councilman Fred Thomas.

"Those who served did a wonderful job," said Council Chairman Rudy Carter. "We will miss them, but we will move on."

The commission still needs members from Districts 6 and 7. Those interested in serving may call Councilman Jack Estridge, who represents District 6, or Councilman Wayne Kersey, who serves District 7.

Contact Jenny Hartley at 283-1151 or jhartley@thelancasternews.com