Planning Commission information

Planning Commission info

Planning Commission

The Bedford County Regional Planning Commission is comprised of 11 members. Board Members are recommended by the County Mayor and confirmed by the Board of Commissioners. They meet at 7:00 PM in suite 200 of the historic Bedford County Courthouse (2nd Floor) on the 4th Tuesday of each month (having a business agenda). Meetings may be postponed or cancelled due to severe weather, lack of quorum, or lack of official business. Special-Called meetings may also be held upon a majority vote of the members or upon request by the chairperson. Special-called meetings, like regular meetings, require a 10-day notice to the public in the local newspaper. 

  Commissioners: phone #
   Jeff Sweeney - Chairman (615) 892-0599
  Alan Gill - Vice Chair (931) 684-9112
  Linda Yockey - Secretary (931) 607-5875
  Larry Hasty (931) 294-5466
  Brent Stacy (931) 703-4069
  Lynn Kasicki-Wegeng (815) 687-6795
  Reid Farmer (615) 330-7730
  Kennon Threet (931) 580-2141
  Wayne Simons (931) 580-9666
  Jay Graham (931) 580-5801
  Tom McLean (931) 703-7582

The Planning Commission considers the following: 
•    Requests for rezoning. 
•    Requests for Subdivision Approval.
•    Amendments to the Zoning Resolution of Bedford County.
•    Amendments to the Subdivision Regulations of Bedford County.
•    Special Use Permits.
•    Various site plans and subdivision plat approvals. 
•    Administration of the Comprehensive Plan
•    Administration of the Bedford County Flood Prevention Provisions 
•    Administration of the Official Zoning Map

The County Regional Planning Commission’s duty is to recommend various items to the County Board of Commissioners the boundaries of various districts (Zoning Districts) and appropriate land use regulations and restrictions enforced therein. The Planning Commission shall: 
•    Prepare preliminary reports and hold public meetings (or hearings if applicable) thereon before submitting a final report. The Board of Commissioners shall not hold its public hearings or take action until it has received the final report and recommendation of the County Regional Planning Commission. 
•    After the adoption of such regulations, restrictions, and boundaries of districts, the Planning Commission may recommend to the County Board of Commissioners amendments, supplements, changes, or modifications. 

Deadlines for Comment
In order to provide information to the Planning Commission in a timely manner, all written materials of any kind must be received no later than 12:00 p.m./noon, three (3) days prior to the meeting date. Materials provided after the established cutoff time will not be eligible for consideration. 

Public Hearings vs. Public Meetings 
There is a distinguishable difference between a public hearing and a public meeting. 

•    Public Meetings
Public meetings, such as a typical Planning Commission or other Committee meeting are meetings, duly advertised and open to the public, whereby members of the county planning commission will consider an applicant’s desire to propose a new subdivision or approve a site plan in an examination of the proposed plan’s compliance or agreement with the currently adopted county resolutions and minimum required standards. 
Such officially adopted standards and a plan’s compliance with them are up for public review but not up for public debate. The submitted plan either is compliant or is not compliant, and the planning commission’s job is to make that official determination of compliance.  If compliance is met, the application must, by law, be approved. 
These procedures are designed to provide fair and equitable access to all property owners exercising their 4th Amendment development rights. The public may only be invited to speak at a public meeting if the Chairperson authorizes it. Generally speaking, the chairperson may authorize public questions in order for explanations of the process to be given to the public when questions arise as to what is being approved or denied and why. The public does not have a general right to speak at a public meeting. 
•    Public Hearings
Public hearings are required in certain circumstances where the public has a right to speak and give testimony regarding local government official actions. Public Hearings are required to be held in the following circumstances for items under the jurisdiction of the county planning commission: 

1.    The adoption or amendment of Subdivision Regulations. The planning commission uses five (5) separate rule documents in the administration of its jurisdiction: 
a)    The Bedford County Subdivision Regulations
b)    The Zoning Resolution of Bedford County
c)    The Bedford County Flood Damage Prevention Provisions 
d)    The Bedford County Comprehensive Plan
e)    The Bedford County Major Thoroughfare Plan

The subdivision regulations are a set of minimum standards established by the county planning commission for the subdivisions of land which meet the state’s definition of a subdivision in state law. Not all divisions of land are considered subdivisions. The county planning commission has sole jurisdiction on its subdivision regulations – thus, a public hearing is required prior to its adoption or amendment. 

2.    Rezonings: The Planning Commission does not hold public hearings for rezoning applications. The county planning commission does not have the jurisdiction to approve rezonings. A rezoning request is in actuality a request to amend the official zoning map of Bedford County, thus, it requires a public hearing by the County Board of Commissioners before it can decide the matter. The Planning Commission simply makes a favorable or unfavorable recommendation to the County Board of Commissioners, that recommendation deriving from standard growth management planning concepts along with parity or non-parity from the adopted Comprehensive Growth Plan. 
Rezonings at the Planning Commission level are simply public meetings. The public hearing for a rezoning request, however, occurs later at the County Board of Commissioners meeting – because the Board of Commissioners is the entity with the jurisdiction to amend the map. 
The official zoning map is a component of the Zoning Resolution of Bedford County. The adoption and amendment of the Zoning Resolution is treated similarly to a rezoning. Amendments to the Zoning Resolution are recommended by the County Planning Commission to the County Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners hold a public hearing prior to their voting on amendments to the Zoning Resolution. 
The Zoning Resolution provides minimum development standards for land use and controls certain types of land uses as acceptable or unacceptable in certain zoning districts as a way to control and make sense of land uses in the county. This protects landowners in residential or agricultural areas from adverse commercial or industrial uses. 

3.    The Bedford County Flood Damage Prevention Provisions 
The flood damage prevention provisions are adopted as part of the zoning resolution of Bedford County. The Planning Director is the designated Floodplain Manager for Bedford County and is responsible to determine where new construction may or may not be built when a floodplain or regulatory floodway impacts the property. 

4.    The Bedford County Major Thoroughfare Plan is also a component of the Zoning Resolution. It is also treated the same as zoning amendments when it is amended. This plan classifies certain roadways in categories such as Arterial, Minor, or Collector. It is tied to land use categories where an intensity of traffic from a proposed land use may impact the road’s ability to handle the increased traffic. Certain roadways are built to a higher standard for weight or land width in order to handle heavy truck traffic. 

5.    Comprehensive Growth Plan: The long-range plan, or comprehensive growth plan, is a twenty (20) year growth analysis and roadmap for how the county planning commission will administer its zoning recommendations for the next twenty (20) years. It represents a vision for future growth and preservation of the unincorporated areas of Bedford County. It predicts growth patterns and development trends and rationalizes methods in which to organize, incentivize, or disallow certain types of growth in certain areas – choosing instead to protect certain areas from adverse development patterns. 
The plan outlines the Planning Commission’s policies for desired land use patterns, rural preservation efforts, open space and natural resource protection, the quality and character of growth, and the provision of public services and facilities. It may also recommend future road or multi-modal transportation infrastructure. 
The plan is used as the basis for creating implementation tools, such as updated zoning resolutions, designed to ensure that the vision articulated in the plan becomes a reality. The plan is also used by elected and appointed officials as the guide for making decisions regarding investments in infrastructure, public facilities, and amenities. 
The plan requires public participation in its formulation and is publicly adopted by the Planning Commission. It may or may not be officially adopted by the County Board of Commissioners. 

Items requiring a public hearing will be allotted a total of thirty (30) minutes for each public hearing item. Each speaker addressing the Planning Commission during a public hearing shall be allotted a maximum of three (3) minutes each, with some instances being less, dependent upon the number of speakers who have signed up to speak. For those wishing to participate in the public hearing process, a sign-up sheet will be available thirty minutes prior to the start of the meeting (6:30 PM). Those wishing to speak will be required to sign up prior to the start of the meeting (7:00 PM). The sign in sheet will be picked up promptly at 7:00PM.

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