After more than a month without a planning commissioner, the City of Knox Planning Commission last night made their appointment for the position. Greg Matt was not re-appointed to the position on Jan. 1, and a debate has been ongoing between Mayor Rick Chambers and the Planning Commission over who has the authority to appoint the planning commissioner.
As a compromise, Chambers and the Planning Commission found a candidate whom they both could agree on: Bruce W. Williams will begin his time as full-time planning commissioner on March 4, after he leaves his current full-time position with Starke County as the building administrator. Planning Commission President Jeff V. Berg told the commission that he feels Williams will do what needs done as planning commissioner.
“He stated that he wanted the position, and he knows what I would expect of that position, and that is a viable inspection program which he is on board with already, the rentals in the city of Knox, again, that is a quality of life issue for the people that live here, and I believe they’ve expected that, and we just need to advance and progress forward with this,” said Berg.
Berg said that Williams has told him that he would like to help citizens and businesses understand planning and zoning issues, and the process residents need to go through to resolve their cases. He said Williams would fill the position admirably.
“I found Bruce to be a professional, he’s had experience with the county planning administration, some seven years, and he graduated from our high school here. So he’s very identifiable to the community here, and I believe that he would be a good fit for the city of Knox,” said Berg.
One member of the planning commission voiced her concern, however, stating that she was uncomfortable with the nomination of Williams due to his involvement in a lawsuit against Starke County, which the county ultimately lost. She said that in combination with the fact that the city did not publicly advertise the position made her uneasy, despite the fact that the city is not required to advertise open positions that are appointed.
The commission voted to appoint Williams as the planning commissioner, and the vote passed with only one opposed. Williams said he is looking forward to starting his work as planning commissioner.
“I think it’s going to be great, I think it’s going to be a great fit. I do have the experience and it’s a lot smaller than the county, and I’ve lived in Knox my entire life almost, and like I said, I think it’ll just be a great fit,” said Williams.