The Town Board discussed a proposal that would allow applicants to pay an additional fee to have their application “expedited” at Thursday’s work session. The proposal would allow the town to hire an outside consultant to do the bulk of the review, and then that consultants consultants’ work would be reviewed by the town planning staff to ensure that it complies with regulations.
The proposal comes in the wake of concerns that applications will be backed up in the planning process due to staffing cuts in that department this year. The town did not fill the planning director and environmental planner positions following retirements in both of that slots, and the planning department is left with one planner, a part-time environmental planner and planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree, who oversees two departments.
The expedited review proposal would need a public hearing first, and the town must issue a request for proposals for consulting firms interested in doing the work. It’s not certain if this would need approval from the Civil Service Employees Association, the union that represents town workers.
To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the work session, click below, and scroll down for the full meeting agenda.