Six members resign as members of Marion planning commission

The Marion City Council accepted resignations of six of the seven-member planning and zoning commission during its meeting Monday.

In a letter dated Friday, Oct. 2, Nick Nickelson, chair, Al Ash, J.B. Miesse, Darvin Markley, Ralph Kreutziger and Andy Ash sent notice of their resignation to Mayor Mary Olson and four council members.

The letter stated that after considering events of the past several months and years, and the attitudes and adversities with some city officials, their ability to work with the city was ?severely compromised.?

The letter further stated that until such time as there is a better working relationship between the council and planning and zoning, issues will persist.

?We feel there will continue to be problems with improvements and decision-making regarding the growth of Marion,? the members wrote.

?I hate to see them quit,? said Councilor Bill Holdeman, who voted not to approve their resignations.

Olson said she polled some of the members to see if they would reconsider.

?I was told by a couple of the members they were not interested in returning to the commission at this point,? she said.

Olson said she appreciates the work these volunteers have done for Marion.

?Our citizens are profitting from the work these people did on a comprehensive plan for Marion,? she said.

?This task would have cost the city thousands of dollars.?

In their letter, the members also addressed the comprehensive plan. It stated that the plan, while necessary, was not done in a way it should have been to reflect improvements.

?More than a year ago,? it stated, ?we set out to review the present plan and update it. The main goal was to update and condense the present plan into a shorter and more meaningful version that perhaps the public would read and understand.?

Once completed, though, the six members said the only thing they accomplished was making some wording and date changes.

?(The plan) still has nearly 100 pages of confusing unintelligible language.?

Adding to the concerns, the members wrote that they were asked to review and make changes to the zoning regulations as well as the subdivision regulations.

?After our first review of the subdivision regulations and listening to opinions expressed, it is apparent that these revisions will take the same path as the comprehensive plan with some wording corrections and no major changes that might encourage a potential developer to create a new subdivision in Marion.?

The six men are also taking with them many years of combined experience on the planning and zoning commission.

?It?s a total loss,? Olson said.

The only member to remain on the commission with experience was Margo Yates, vice chair.

Olson said it will be difficult to replace the members who resigned. She said she will continue talking with the other council members, Doug Kjellin, who is the city?s economic development director, and Yates for suggestions on whom to appoint.

?It?s going to take time,? she said.

The purpose of the Marion Planning Commission, according to the council, is to review and revise zoning regulations as needed; review and revise subdivision regulations, as needed; review and revise the comprehensive plan annually; review and approve or deny conditional use permits and re-zoning applications as they are submitted.

Anyone interested in being considered for this commission is encouraged to call 620-382-3703.

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