Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2003

City Council narrowly approves Zoning Appeals Board appointments

November 13, 2003

The Basehor City Council voted 3-2 Monday, Nov. 10 to appoint four members to its revamped Board of Zoning Appeals.

The appointments were to take place later this month, which would give city officials time to locate a fifth appointee. However, another person interested in the position had not been found, so the city moved forward with the appointments, Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer said.

The City Council approved the appointments for new Board of Zoning Appeals members Ty Garver, Leslie Bishop, Bill Robison and Jeff Scherer. Jeff Scherer and Robison will serve three-year terms; the term length for Garver and Bishop will be two years.

The City Council voted on the four members as a slate rather than individually.

The current Board of Zoning Appeals consists of Basehor Planning Commission members who live in the city. The zoning appeals board hears appeals of decisions of the Planning Commission.

The new board will separate the Planning Commission from the appeals process so members aren't deciding on an issue they've previously voted on.

The stir among City Council members Monday stemmed not from the appointments as a whole but of one in particular.

Jeff Scherer, a local developer, is the mayor's brother.

City Council members Bill Hooker and Iris Dysart voted against the appointments. Neither Hooker nor Dysart argued that Jeff Scherer was not qualified for the position.

"I think that one is going to be a conflict of interest," Hooker said.

Chris Garcia, a Basehor resident and former City Council president, was previously offered a position on the board but declined because he also viewed the appointment as a conflict of interest.

City Council member John Bonee said the appointment brings a negative perception but that Jeff Scherer is qualified enough to serve on the board.

"There is no one more qualified, but what I worry about is the perception," Bonee said. "It's a difficult decision because I know he would be good for the board and there isn't a lot of other people knocking on the door right now."

City Council members Keith Sifford, Julian Espinoza and Bonee, as well as mayor Scherer defended the appointment, citing a lack of interest by other residents and the qualifications and experience Jeff Scherer will bring to the board.

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