Beale’s resignation went into effect immediately, making Stenger chairman in accordance with board by-laws. If Beale were to win a county commission seat, he could not return as the planning board chairman, but could become the liaison between the two groups — a position currently held by Commissioner Charlie Leatherman.
If Beale were to lose his bid for election, he could request consideration for a return to chairmanship in January, Stenger said.
“Ronnie has his heart in the right place since he is concerned about the growth issues and the need for balance between preserving the natural heritage of the mountains and sustaining the social economic vitality of the County,” Stenger said.
Beale served as planning board chairman since 2003. During that time the planning board enacted a high-impact use ordinance, which county commissioners passed unanimously. Though criticized by some residents for being not restrictive enough, the ordinance represented a first step in comprehensive land-use planning for the county, supporters said.
The planning board tackled writing a subdivision ordinance in late 2005; however, the ordinance has been slow to come to fruition, having been stalled ever since a public hearing this July that resulted in several changes being made.
The next planning board meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Macon County Environmental Center, adjacent to the landfill.
— By Sarah Kucharski