Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

City council discusses possibility of staff representing residents’ views on zoning

The Hendersonville City Council on Thursday night discussed the possibility of having a city planner represent the views of residents during contentious zoning, rezoning and conditional zoning public hearings.

The council considered the idea during its first regular meeting of 2022.
Council member Jerry Smith said he asked the council to consider having staff represent residents’ views because he thinks that while the city staff and council are only doing their jobs during presentations about possible developments “it looks to some like we are on the side of developers.”
Smith also said that the city provides slide show presentations during meetings of what developers want but do not do that for residents.
“It looks like we are making a presentation for developers at times,” he said.
Mayor Barbara Volk said she did not see the need for a staff person to represent residents.
“They seem able to articulate their positions,” she said. “They are very capable of telling us themselves.”
Council member Jennifer Hensley said she also thinks residents are able to voice their concerns to the city themselves as the council considers possible developments. She said she also thinks there might be legal concerns with having a staff person represent residents views.
City Manager John Connet and City Attorney Angela Beeker said they too were concerned about legal challenges to council decisions if a staff member is assigned to represent the views of residents. Beeker said she was concerned about setting up internal conflicts between staff members.
Council member Lyndsey Simpson suggested that a staff member might be able to represent concerns about environmental sustainability during contentious zoning meetings.
The council did not take any action on the topic Thursday night.