Another Charlotte zoning and planning kerfluffle

Some may have hoped that switching to a development review board would have quieted controversy in Charlotte’s zoning and planning process.

They would have hoped in vain.

Controversy coming from the Feb. 9 meeting of the newly formed development review board has been followed by the resignation of chair Lane Morrison.

At this meeting a number of people in the audience tried to speak about whether the board should reconsider stipulations the planning commission made as part of its December approval of a proposed nine-lot subdivision on just over 124 acres at 125 Lake Road.

Morrison rebuffed their attempts to speak, saying it was that board’s understanding from an attorney that it was proper for the board to discuss whether to move these stipulations to reconsideration without public input.

He explained that the actual reconsideration would take place at another meeting of the development review board and at that time people will be allowed to speak.

After the meeting, the town received at least nine letters from five different people who objected to how the meeting was handled and that people were not allowed to express their feelings or give testimony. Some of the letters contained allegations that open meetings law was violated.

Morrison stepped down on Tuesday.

In his resignation letter, Morrison said it was effective immediately. He added that the switch from a zoning board to the development review board has added lots of work to the volunteer position.

“I felt fully supported by the office staff but realize this assignment is not a good fit for me,” he said. There was no mention in his resignation letter of the previous week’s meeting nor the subsequent brouhaha.

A public body has 10 days after receiving allegations that open meetings law has been violated, town planner Larry Lewack said.

Initially, the development review board had planned to consider these allegations at its regular meeting next Wednesday, but school is out for February break then and some of the members had family plans that conflicted with that date, Lewack said.

So, the development review board will have a hastily scheduled meeting at 4 p.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 17) to determine the validity of those allegations.

Stay tuned. More to come on this developing story.