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Volunteer members of several Gem County boards which make crucial decisions on enforcement of county ordinances and policies are in short supply. Some committees are operating with minimal positions filled and board operations are slowed due to lack of quorums at times.

The Gem County Planning and Zoning Board currently is operating with three members. Optimum membership is considered seven. Monthly meetings at times have had to be rescheduled to assure that a quorum would be available to conduct hearings and make decisions.

Requests for zoning changes and special use permits have increased substantially over the past couple of years according to the Gem County Development Services Department director Jennifer Kharrl.

“The demand for decisions has certainly increased in the last year or so,” Kharrl said. “While the work load doesn’t change with more members, it does provide a broader perspective and more diversity in the process.”

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The Planning and Zoning Board is charged with interpreting county ordinances and the comprehensive plan intentions when assessing requests for zoning designation changes and special use permits within those zones. Zoning change requests are forwarded with recommendations to the Gem County Board of Commissioners for final approval. Special use permits are normally approved at the Zoning Board level with the ability to impose restrictions or limitations on some requested uses.

The Board normally meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month.

Positions on the Planning and Zoning Board are by appointment from the County Board of Commissioners and normally for a four year term. The only qualification requirement is that the applicant must be a two-year resident of Gem County. A simple two-page application is available on-line at gemcounty.org or at the County Clerk office in the Gem County Court House.

Other boards currently with vacant positions are the Orchard Review Board, The Weed Advisory Board and the Waterways Advisory Board.

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