Planning panel changes discussed

A proposal to reconfigure the Richland County Planning Commission will be refined in the coming month, after a debate Tuesday on designating seats for conservationists and community members.

One idea discussed by County Council's rules committee would expand the advisory board to 11 to make each council member responsible for appointing one member.

The planning commission's makeup has been a point of contention for months, with some saying it is pro-development and should be more balanced. Councilwoman Val Hutchinson said just two members talk at meetings.

She is on the three-member committee suggesting a system that would dedicate two seats for developers and two seats for environmentalists, with other citizens representing high-growth areas of the county. Committee members agreed to keep working on the measure after some of their colleagues questioned it.

- Dawn Hinshaw