Several months ago the county council changed the body that hears appeals to planning commission and county council decisions. The county had previously had a board of volunteers that heard the appeals cases. The council had been struggling to have enough volunteers to keep the appeals board working. They also had challenges with the appeals board keeping current on the knowledge necessary to make good decisions. Appeals are rare, and the law and county codes are complex. Last year the chairman of the appeals board wrote to the council about his concerns relating to the capability of the board to render good decisions.
The council acted and made the decision to change to an appeal officer. The county put the appeals officer out to bid and has now awarded the contract to two appeals officers. Two responses were received and the council authorized the hiring of these two individuals at a fixed cost of $500 per case. This cost will be paid by individuals requesting an appeal to be heard. The two new appeal officers will be Megan Ryan and Gary Jones. Only one appeal officer will be used for each case, but having two officers will allow for times when one of the officers is unavailable to hear a case.