The City Council reached a tentative consensus to reduce the size of the Planning Commission from seven to five members when a vacancy opens in July.
The council discussed restructuring the commission at a meeting Monday after Brenda Miller, who has served as a planner for 12 years, told Mayor Donald L. Bone that she did not want her appointment renewed when it expires July 15.
The mayor noted that the city staff has brought up the idea of reducing the commission during the past few years as other departments were downsizing. The question is whether to eliminate two positions to ensure an odd number of members or to make the sixth position that of an alternate.
Three others on the commission, Chairman Larry T. Wieck and members Robert J. Niccum and Jack Mauller, are up for reappointment in July. Wieck and Niccum have both informed the council that they would like to have their appointments renewed.
Board members said they were uncomfortable with the prospect of eliminating a member who wanted reappointment. They deferred a final decision until Monday's council meeting, and Bone asked the city clerk to try to contact Mauller and ask if he wants to continue on the board.
"We have talked about this since 1986 and to me it makes sense," Councilwoman Rhonda J. McCune said.
The only council member against the reduction was Don R. Griffin, who said the commission should represent the various viewpoints of the community.
"I think diversity of talents brings a broader perspective," Griffin said. "I think it's always worked very effectively."
Bone asked Thomas Lynch, director of development services, to research the repercussions of the change and the legality of having an alternate with voting powers.