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Johnsburg mulls makeup of Planning Board

Johnsburg Town Hall

Johnsburg Town Hall Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Town leaders are discussing possible changes to the town Planning Board in an effort to more consistently have a quorum to conduct business, according to Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow.

The Planning Board, when fully staffed, has seven volunteer members. There are two vacancies on the board now. To have a quorum and conduct business at any given meeting, four members need to be present. There have been times in recent months, Vanselow said, where there weren’t sufficient numbers present to be able to conduct business.

Town leaders have had informal discussions about reducing the size of the Planning Board from seven members to five members.

“Legally, it’s possible to go from seven to five,” Vanselow said. “With a five-member board you only need three for a quorum.”

Vanselow described the discussions regarding the size of the Planning Board as more of a philosophical conversation. Town leaders must decide if a smaller board offers any advantages in achieving a quorum. With a five-member board, you only need three for a quorum, Vanselow said. But the member pool is also smaller. So the margin for error is reduced.

“It’s not a huge issue,” he said. “There’s been some talk but no real action.”

A bigger priority is filling the current vacancies on both the Planning Board and Zoning Board. In addition to two Planning Board vacancies, there is one alternate position that is vacant, as well as two seats on the five-member Zoning Board. With only three seats filled on the Zoning Board, Vanselow said, if even one member doesn’t show up to a meeting, the board can’t conduct business or vote on issues.

Anyone interested in serving on either board should send a letter of interest to Town Hall for consideration, Vanselow said. One must be a resident of the town of Johnsburg to serve on the Planning Board or Zoning Board.

“Volunteers are the heart of a small town like ours,” Vanselow said. “If anyone has an interest, we’d like to hear from them.

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