DeSoto County Supervisors Monday were examining whether or not to strip the Board of Adjustment from having the final say on weightier matters involving conditional use and subdivision issues which are sometimes appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
At issue is making the Board of Adjustment merely an "advisory board" rather than a final decision-making body.
District 3 Supervisor Bill Russell inquired as to whether the Planning Department was "working toward making that happen." The discussion arose during the Board of Supervisors regular monthly meeting.
Russell said he was under the impression that the Planning Department has been given that directive.
"I've always questioned the fact that the board (Board of Adjustment) has that much authority," Russell said. "They have (right now) as much authority as the Board (of Supervisors)."
District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner tried to put things in their proper perspective.
"They (Board of Adjustment) can be appealed," Gardner said. "We can be appealed. Ultimately none of us are the last decision on anything." Gardner was referring to the fact any action by county government can be appealed through the courts.
The five-member Board of Adjustment is the final say on matters coming before it unless those matters are appealed to the five-member DeSoto County Board of Supervisors.
Other supervisors had a mixed opinion on the issue of whether to make the Board of Adjustment an advisory board.
District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell said she would like to see the Board of Adjustment be an advisory board on subdivision matters, with the ability to make decisions on small lot subdivisions and routine variances with weightier, sometimes controversial matters like conditional use permits and large-scale subdivision matters coming before the Board of Supervisors.
District 1 Supervisor Jessie Medlin had a different opinion.
"I would just as soon leave it the way it is," Medlin said.
The Board of Adjustment has been structured in much the same manner as it now operates since the DeSoto County Department of Planning was created in 1958.
The Board of Adjustment acts as a "buffer" between the public and Supervisors to often settle disputes and issues of taxation.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.