Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Board Seeks Planning Panel Role; Official Request Made for Seat and Vote on Planning Commission

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Board Seeks Planning Panel Role; Official Request Made for Seat and Vote on Planning Commission

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Hoping to get a stronger voice in Clay County's development, the School Board wants one of its members appointed to the advisory panel that makes zoning and land use recommendations to the County Commission.

They want the School Board to have a designated seat on the seven-member planning commission and have a vote in its decisions.

"We're just trying to find a way to get more involvement in working with the county," said board Chairwoman Carol Studdard.

At a recent workshop, board members identified greater involvement in county planning efforts as a top goal, school district officials said. Since planning and county commission decisions on zoning and land use have a direct impact on the district -- in some cases forcing the construction of new schools the district cannot afford -- the School Board should have a say, district officials said.

"The county handles growth and development -- that's the main thing that's killing us," said Deputy Superintendent Ben Wortham. "More growth, more kids, means more buildings, which we don't have."

The board officially requested the appointment in a Jan. 20 letter to Commission Chairman George Bush. The commission took no action at its Jan. 25 meeting, but Bush asked the commissioners to keep the request in mind when filling a pending planning commission vacancy.

Last week, Bush said he was discussing the request with school district officials and was "not sure" if or when it would be discussed by the commission. But it was on the agenda for possible discussion at the commission's Tuesday meeting.

County Planning Director Thad Crowe said the issue is far more complicated than it appears. A School Board member on the planning commission has no more legal authority to curb development impacting the school district than any other commission member, he said. …

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