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Only 5 Candidates, Including 4 Incumbents, Apply for 4 Palm Coast Planning Board Seats

| September 4, 2012

Palm Coast planning board meetings can draw large crowds, as did this one last January, regarding a land use change in the Cypress Knoll area. (© FlaglerLive)

Update: In a matter of minutes, the Palm Coast City Council voted Tuesday evening (Sept. 4) to re-appoint Ray Henderson, Michael Beebe, and Glenn Davis to the Planning and Land Development Regulation Board, as well as to appoint a new member, Christopher Dolney, to the voluntary, four-year term position. Armando Mustiga, a current member, had applied for re-appointment. He received only one vote, to Dolney’s four. (See below for details about Dolney). For Henderson, it’ll be his fourth successive term. “I need to call Ray Henderson. He’s been doing this for too long,” council member Frank Meeker said, somewhat jokingly.

The Palm Coast City Council this evening will appoint four members to its influential, seven-member Planning and Land Development Regulation Board. But only five people applied. Four of them already serve on it. And one of them–Ray Henderson–has been serving on the board since its inception in 2000, even though the city has a two-term limit for service. If Henderson is re-appointed, it would be his fourth consecutive four-year term.

The three other members re-applying–Michael Beebe, Armando Mustiga and Glenn Davis–have served just one term so far. The dearth of applicants, however, like the dismally low turnout in the last two Palm Coast elections (lowest in the city’s history) is further indication, in a city of more than 75,000, of indifference in local government. It leaves council members little choice but to re-appoint members.

The city council may override its own rule about a two-term limit, but it must have a super-majority of four of its five votes to do so. That has not been an issue in the past. The only question this evening will be whether the council will overlook the only new applicant in the bunch–Christopher Dolney–to stick with its existing members.

Dolney, a resident of Clarendon Ct. in Palm Coast (he lists a Winter Park post office box address on the resume he submitted to the city) has been an independent appraiser, consultant and commercial real estate salesman since 2005. He graduated Deltona High School in 2004, serving less than six months in the U.S. Marines in the interim. He was discharged, he wrote in his application, “due to medical reasons.” Dolney’s references are in orlando, California and North Carolina.

Nate McLaughlin, a former chairman of the planning board and a current member of the Flagler County Commission, wasn’t surprised by the re-application of existing members. Once individuals serve on the planning board, he said, they tend to reapply (he cited Henderson’s example) unless they move on to higher office, as several members of the commission McLaughlin chaired did: Frank Meeker and Bill Lewis were both on the planning board before their elevation to the council.

The planning board can only make recommendations to the council regarding land development regulations and zoning changes that come before it. But it has an influential voice, its votes carrying some weight in council members’ eventual decisions, and its hearings serving to shed attention development in the city while giving developers a sense of how the public perceives their projects.

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2 Responses for “Only 5 Candidates, Including 4 Incumbents, Apply for 4 Palm Coast Planning Board Seats”

  1. Justice for All says:

    Wonder what methods the City used to solicit participation. Or perhaps no one wants to be a rubber stamp for the current regime. Too bad, when the City was created, it was actually run by the people who lived here, instead of special interests and out of town developers.

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