Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council adopted a resolution revising the city’s land development code designating the Planning Commission as the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals during a meeting June 3.
Larry Powell, economic development director, told the council that the planning staff and the city attorney reviewed the state statutes that allow a city to have a combined planning commission and board of zoning appeals.
“The applicable statute allows for the dissolution of the BZA and designation of the planning commission members as the action board for the BZA,” he said.
Earlier during the meeting, Adrianna Meder, Gardner resident, former planning commissioner and recently declared candidate for city council, voiced her opposition to the merger of the two bodies. She urged the council to take time to think through the implications of allowing the same people who make planning commission decisions to review the same decisions on appeal.
Ryan Denk, city attorney, said the BZA wouldn’t ever review a decision of the planning commission saying that even though the same individuals would serve on the two bodies, the meetings would be separate and the functions of each would be different.
“It is more and more common in municipalities,” he said, adding that no conflict of interest arises from the arrangement.
In other business the council:
-approved a waiver of the distance limitations for the sale of alcohol during the Festival of Trails on June 8 and during the weekly farmers market very Thursday 4pm-7pm from June 6 to Sept. 12. The waiver for the farmers market is limited to the sale of unopened bottles of table wine.
-Authorized the city administrator to purchase two Ford F-250 trucks at a cost of 62,857. The vehicles will be used by the utilities department.