Cleveland, Tenn., Planning Commission updates bylaws

Cleveland, Tenn., Planning Commission updates bylaws

October 27th, 2011 by By Paul Leach/Correspondent in News

Greg Thomas, planning director

Greg Thomas, planning director

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland's planning commission recently adopted new rules to streamline its functions.

On Tuesday evening, the commission reviewed its recently updated bylaws, which now include the use of consent agendas. Consent agendas allow the commission to group many of its simple plat-related items into a combined review for votes.

Consent agendas are not used for items that require action by the City Council based upon recommendations made by the commission.

Planning Director Greg Thomas previously said such a change would improve the commission's efficiency. He estimated that half of the board's workload consisted of approving or denying plat requests.

Exceptions may be made to any item listed in a given meeting's consent agenda.

"Any commissioner may pull an item from the consent agenda if he or she perceives more discussion is needed," City Attorney John Kimball said.

A member of the audience also may request that a consent agenda item receive a separate hearing.

Chairman Tim Henderson asked that Kimball also clarify bylaws governing conflicts of interest for planners.

"If you have direct conflict of interest, you really shouldn't vote," Kimball said. "If you have an indirect conflict of interest, you can declare it and vote."

Kimball said a direct conflict of interest typically "means financially interested."

Bylaws aside, the commission already is subject to a comprehensive municipal code of ethics, just like any other board or committee of Cleveland city government.

The planning commission bylaws revisions follow recent organizational changes made to its supporting staff, the Development & Engineering Services Department. The newly created entity combines the old Community Development Department with public works engineers under one roof, according to its director, Jonathan Jobe.

In other business, the panel voted 9-0 to rezone the new Cleveland Municipal Airport property as light industrial. The airport is on 357 acres of land near Michigan Avenue and Dry Valley Road.

The light industrial status will allow the airport a little more freedom regarding commercial and industrial usages, ranging from coffee shops to facilities for UPS or FedEx, according to senior planner Paul Corder.

The light industrial zoning also is consistent with the zoning of nearby properties along the Michigan Avenue corridor, Kimball said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at