Rehoboth Beach is moving forward with a search for a city planner.
After another misstep involving planning board approval of the Clear Space Theatre site plan, city officials are all in favor of hiring a city planner to avoid future problems.
The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commision approved a preliminary document outlining what the city is looking for in a city planner.
Planning Commissioner Michael Strange says a city planner could help resolve problems before they come before the commission.
“By the time applicants come to us, it’s too late — and that becomes almost a fight in many cases in that many of the things that come up could have been looked at and considered by the applicant way, way in advance,” Stange said.
Other commissioners say a city planner can lend help to developers in ways they can’t. Public records laws prohibit them from helping developers resolve code issues outside a public meeting.
A city planner could serve as a liaison, and ensure site plans meet code before coming for approval. A planner could also help identify future development sites throughout the city.
Planning Commission chair Jeffery Trunzo says the city is looking to get help with upcoming development projects that need attention.
“The mayor’s instruction to me as far as I understand is to move ahead as rapidly as possible with a high quality hire and engage them in whatever way is possible,” Trunzo said.
He cites the BelHaven and Rehoboth Grand hotels proposed along Rehoboth Avenue require more attention.
The city still needs to settle if it intends to hire a part time consultant, a full time city employee or an entire planning firm to fill the post.
The document will go in front of the board of commissioners for final approval.
Trunzo and other planning commissioners also replied to the board of commissioners’ reversal of their Clear Space site plan approval.
Trunzo says he stands by the approval, and the way it was conducted. He adds he does not plan to step down from the planning commission.
But, Trunzo added he may step down earlier for personal reasons unrelated to the Clear Space Reversal.
Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.