Jerome Council delays vote on dissolution of Design Review, Planning and Zoning

The Jerome Town Council discusses the current state of the Design Review Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission – both currently unable to reach quorum. Members of the board and commission sat front row at the special meeting. VVN/Halie Chavez

The Jerome Town Council discusses the current state of the Design Review Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission – both currently unable to reach quorum. Members of the board and commission sat front row at the special meeting. VVN/Halie Chavez

JEROME – The Jerome Town Council is giving the community another opportunity to step up and serve.

At a special meeting Wednesday, council members discussed the current state of the Design Review Board and Planning and Zoning Commission. Both advisory groups currently have two members each – short of the three members needed for a quorum.

After heated discussion and strong feedback from the public, council members ultimately voted to table the item and hold another special meeting to consider other applicants, if any, that would allow both boards to legally function. Some members of the public insisted they would apply.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled for a meeting Wednesday.

In March, the Planning and Zoning Commission lacked a quorum because of two members’ expired terms, but the commission was able to recover and reach a quorum the next month. The Design Review Board was appointed a member in February, effectively saving the board at that time.

At the start of the Wednesday’s meeting, the council rejected Joe Lozaro’s application to serve on the Design Review Board. Mayor Frank Vander Horst, Vice Mayor Jay Kinsella and Council Member Hunter Bachrach voted to not appoint Lozaro, while Council Members Alex Barber and Lew Currier voted yes.

“I’m a little disappointed in you, gentlemen,” Barber said.

The dissenting members of council did not give a reason for the “no” vote on Lozaro.

The Council has rejected the last two applicants for the Design Review Board.

Since 2013, Design Review Board meetings have been canceled because of a lack of quorum twice, according to the Town of Jerome website.

Planning and Zoning meetings are more often canceled for not having anything on the agenda. In 2017, commission meetings were canceled because of a lack of quorum in September and October.

The Council considered two options Wednesday: take no action, effectively dissolving the boards, or table the item for another special meeting to hopefully consider more potential applicants. Should the council decide to dissolve its advisory boards and commissons, their work would fall on the Town Council.

Wednesday’s special meeting comes after former Planning and Zoning Administrator Kyle Dabney resigned in June.

“I don’t think Kyle understood the necessity of these boards,” Council Member Lew Currier said.

Mayor Vander Horst told the public “no one on this council wants to dissolve the boards.”

Vice Mayor Jay Kinsella expressed concern over the manner in which the boards were conducting meetings.

On the other hand, Council Member Currier expressed the sentiment that those willing to serve should be appointed. Currier pointed out that all boards have a “learning curve,” much like a new Town Council does

The next special meeting date has not yet been determined by the town.

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