Planning Commission pay reinstated at $375 per month

William Chesser, a member of the Fayetteville Planning Commission, speaks during a recent meeting.

Fayetteville Government Channel

After more than three years of volunteer work, members of the Fayetteville Planning Commission will once again be paid for their service to the city.

Council members voted in December 2009 to stop paying commissioners as part of a series of cost-saving measures enacted during the recession.

The City Council this month voted to resume commission pay after Ward 4 Alderman Alan Long proposed the idea in late February.

Long said when looking back at the minutes from the Dec. 15 meeting, he noticed that several aldermen suggested revisiting the issue if the economy improved.

“It’s important for our city to make it as feasible as possible for professionals, who, otherwise might not be able to – without compensation – serve on our Planning Commission,” said Long. “I think this will attract more people to a role that’s very important to our city.”

The commission makes recommendations to the City Council on zoning changes, annexations and amendments to the city’s master street and land use plans. The group also approves subdivision and large-scale development plans, and conditional use permit applications.

The nine-member commission includes Ron Autry, Sarah Bunch, William Chesser, Kyle Cook, Craig Honchell, Tracy Hoskins, Ryan Noble, Blake Pennington and Porter Winston.

“Looking at the time (commissioners) put in, they attend tours, regular planning commission meetings, agenda sessions and subdivision meetings that happen at 9:30 in the morning,” Long said. “It really is a large job.”

Council members voted unanimously to reinstate commissioners’ pay at $375 per month, the same amount they were paid before compensation was ended in 2009.

“I think this is an excellent thing,” said Adella Gray, Ward 1 alderwoman. “I was on the council when we stopped paying the commission, and it was to be a brief thing so I was delighted that alderman Long brought this forward.”

The City Council is the only other paid governing board or commission in Fayetteville. Council members’ pay was recently raised from $700 per month to $1,042 per month.