The Aiken City Planning Commission has experienced a bit of a turnover in the last few months and residents attending the December meeting will see a few new faces.
The most recent change to the commission includes Wilkins Byrd stepping down earlier this month and Commissioner Brendan Doherty who will now serve on the Board of Zoning and Appeals.
In October, Ed Giobbe, another longtime planning commissioner, stepped down after an opinion was released by state Attorney General Alan Wilson regarding dual office holding.
Giobbe was appointed to the state Retirement System Investment Commission last spring and became the vice chairman earlier this year.
Jack Hunter was appointed by Councilman Reggie Ebner to replace Giobbe.
Councilman Dick Dewar tapped Bob Besley to fill Doherty’s position, which was approved at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Jane Page Thompson, who was sitting on the BZA, was recommended by Councilman Steve Homoki for Byrd’s seat. Council will vote on that recommendation at its next meeting on Dec. 10.
Byrd’s last Planning Commission meeting was on Nov. 13 after serving for about a decade – he served as chairman during his last year.
He said he left the Commission because he has several other interests that he would like to pursue, and he felt it was time to give someone else a chance to serve.
“I appreciate the privilege of having served, but I think that it’s good for all of the City’s commissions to change in their composition over time,” Byrd said.
Byrd enjoyed his time on the commission, particularly the exposure to ideas and being part of the developmental process of the city.
What advice does Byrd have for the new commissioners as they take on the responsibility of making recommendations to City Council?
“I can’t think of anything but to urge them to keep the city’s best interest at heart,” Byrd said.
Planning Commissioner Liz Stewart said there may be a small learning curve for those new to the recommending body, but it’s always exciting to get some new people on board.
By paying close attention to constituents’ concerns as well as to current issues and carefully studying the documents at hand, members can help make a valuable contribution to keep Aiken the special place that it is, she said.
Stewart will serve as interim chair in December. The Commission will elect a chair and vice chair in January.