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Want to decide what gets built in Fort Mill? Here’s a dotted line. And five more.

The planning commission, board of zoning appeals and historic review board each have two vacancies. Those groups help decide what gets built in Fort Mill.
The planning commission, board of zoning appeals and historic review board each have two vacancies. Those groups help decide what gets built in Fort Mill. jmarks@fortmilltimes.com

Fort Mill needs a half dozen people who want to help decide which building projects get approved in town.

The planning commission, board of zoning appeals and historic review board each have two vacancies. Those groups help decide what gets built in Fort Mill, where projects fit and how they’re supposed to blend in with what’s already on the ground.

“It is very important that these boards are filled with individuals who love Fort Mill and most importantly want to serve the town,” said Fort Mill Town Councilman Chris Moody.

All three groups meet once monthly. Planning commission and zoning appeals board members must live in Fort Mill. Historic review board members can and often do, but it isn’t a requirement. All new appointments would be for three years.

Applications are being accepted through April 1. A separate town committee will review them and submit a recommendation to town council, which should decide on them April 9.

The planning commission reviews building projects, along with standard rezoning or annexation requests. The group makes formal recommendations to town council for final say.

The zoning appeal board does what it’s name suggests, handling issues where someone may claim a hardship or otherwise look to allow something on a property or within a zoning that otherwise wouldn’t be.

The historic review board looks at everything from paint colors to light fixtures to major remodels in the town’s historic district. That district largely includes the Main Street area, but some other parts of town as well.

Tom Adams served eight years on town council, and a year on the planning commission. So he knows the work both bodies do, and how much weight council places on the recommendations from its planning commission.

“We certainly gave it a lot of consideration,” Adams said. “The council is not bound by the planning commission so there are times that the council may vote against something the planning commission voted in favor of or vice versa.”

Adams can’t recall voting for or against something if the entire planning commission went the other way.

“For me it came down to how many people on the planning commission voted in favor or against it,” he said. “If they were all in favor or all opposed, I generally took that advisement and went with it.”

A great deal of concern about Fort Mill’s future certainly is part of the puzzle, but there are some basic levels of expertise that would serve a would-be planning commission member well, Adams said. There is a reason many members are builders or developers.

“It’s a lot more detailed than the council work,” Adams said. “Having to do with building, codes, the appearance of buildings, what we allow and don’t allow, that sort of thing. “It would be good to have at least a basic understanding of our zones and codes and ordinances.”

In addition to facing important town decisions, Moody said the openings are important because they’re an opportunity to get more Fort Mill residents involved.

“The town is always looking for ways to get the citizens involved in volunteer boards,” he said. “Regardless if you have been a resident of Fort Mill your entire life or for a year, anybody is welcome to serve.”

For more on how to apply, visit the town website or call 547-2034 ext. 1160 for planning director Chris Pettit.

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