published Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Cleveland, Tenn., revamps planning department

By Paul Leach/Correspondent
Greg Thomas, planning director
Greg Thomas, planning director

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland is overhauling its planning department, which now will include city engineer personnel, planning commissioners and officials said recently.

The new Development & Engineering Services Department brings the old Community Development Department and engineers from Public Works under one umbrella, said Director Jonathan Jobe, formerly the city’s stormwater manager.

“It should optimize us and make us a little more efficient,” he said.

Greg Thomas, former director of Cleveland Community Development, now works as the planning director for the new entity.

The new department is in the process of moving its staff between buildings to accommodate the reorganization.

  • photo
    Jonathan Jobe, director of Cleveland's development & engineering services department. Contributed by Paul Leach.

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“The paint literally has not dried,” Thomas said of the changes.

The city planning commission approved a motion to elect Jobe as its secretary, which empowers him to sign off on approved plats. The motion also included the assignment of plat-signing power to the assistant city engineer and the planning director in the absence of the secretary.

Planning Chairman Tim Henderson thanked Thomas for 11 years of service as the commission’s secretary.

The planning commission also discussed how it could streamline its own functions, especially in regard to the review of plat agenda items.

City Councilman David May suggested the use of consent agenda would allow the commission to group similar and simple plat-related items into a combined review for approval and save time.

May pointed out that four of the seven plats reviewed that evening involved the same subdivision and even the same construction company in some cases.

City Attorney John Kimball told commissioners they could adopt the use of consent agenda, but they would need to change their governing rules first.

He recommended they research how consent agenda rules work for the City Council. He also noted that first readings of ordinances and matters involving eminent domain were excluded from consent agendas.

“If I had to guess, I would say a minimum of 50 percent of your business is going to be plats,” Thomas told the commission. “You could cut down on a lot of this if you put it on consent.”

The commissioners agreed to put the possible rules change on next month’s agenda.

The city planning commission regularly meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the municipal building.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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